As people tighten their purse strings in a tough economic climate, eBay is extending some of its seller-friendly promotions until March and adjusting its controversial feedback policy.
eBay hopes the changes will encourage sellers to put more inventory on the sitegiving buyers a reason to shop there instead of purchasing what they want elsewhere online.
Sellers can now list books, music, movies and DVDs and video games for 15 cents and get free subtitles when they use the fixed-price format. They'll also be able to get free subtitles on all listings that offer free shipping. Additionally, PowerSellers who offer free shipping will get double their fee discounts.
"Free shipping works to boost sales and DSRs," according to an eBay message to users. "Buyers love it."
Sellers also get half-price listing fees on one- and three-day auctions for the rest of January.
But what may be music to sellers' ears is the change to eBay's feedback policy. Sellers haven't been happy with feedback since eBay overhauled the system last spring.
International sellers suffered, in particular, because some buyers would leave negative or neutral feedback because of customs fees, notes Dinesh Lathi, vice president of eBay's Seller Experience.
"Many of our cross-border sellers have asked for help when they receive a negative/neutral feedback rating because they wouldn't mark an item as 'gift' in order to sidestep customs fees," Lathi says.
eBay says it will now remove negative or neutral feedback if listings include a clear message that the buyer is responsible for duties and other charges, and if the seller receives negative or neutral feedback that references custom delays or fees.
According to eBay, sellers should include text in their descriptions that reads something like:
"Import duties, taxes and charges are not included in the item or shipping charges. These charges are the buyer's responsibility. Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to bidding/buying."
The wording should be prominently displayed and shouldn't be smaller than the text used in the item description.
The auction site also reminds users to remove any references in listing descriptions to shipping charges that exceed the maximums set by eBay for media items. Listings that violate the policy will be taken down. Sellers should also make sure shipping charges reflect the new rates announced by USPS and . For more about eBay's policy changes for 2009, read eBay Rings in New Year With New Requirements.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.