eBay to Enforce 'Item Condition' Policy

Auctiva will support new requirement, which takes effect in July.

by Auctiva.com staff writer
- May 12, 2010

eBay is encouraging sellers to begin adding descriptions of their items' condition in their listings—a new requirement that will become mandatory in certain categories by the end of July.

Listings in more than 35 categories, including Art, Baby, Books, Camera & Photo and Clothing, Shoes & Accessories, will be required to include the appropriate item condition by July 27. Good 'Til Canceled renewals have until 2011 to include this information.

An accurate description of a product's condition is critical to keeping buyers happy, eBay notes. "It sets accurate expectations and can improve buyer satisfaction with the transaction… Questions about condition are also one of the most common reasons buyers contact sellers for additional information. Additionally, items that include better quality information (such as item condition) are more readily compatible with comparison shopping sites and affiliate channels, which drive more traffic into eBay as a whole."

Sellers can see if their items will need to include item conditions by reviewing eBay's look-up table.

eBay has created several different item condition descriptions for sellers to choose from, and these vary from one category to the next. Sellers could have up to six item conditions to choose from. For electronics, item conditions include new, manufacturer refurbished, seller refurbished and used. Merchants can see all item conditions available on this eBay page.

We've identified some things we can do to help shield Auctiva users from most of the brunt of making this change

"Clearly specified item condition is a good way to reduce buyer questions and prevent low DSRs for item as described," eBay says in its 2010 Summer Seller Update.

Even sellers who currently include the condition of their items should double check their descriptions, eBay notes. Because, although they might think they're in the clear, for the most part, "the old and new definitions are not comparable and cannot be safely carried over (or 'mapped') by eBay for you," the company explains.

Helping sellers comply

Auctiva's hallmark is developing software to ease the burden of online sellers. To that end, the company is updating its software to help customers ensure their listings are in compliance with the new requirement, says Auctiva Senior Product Manager Tony Maxey.

"While eBay's change will unquestionably improve the buyer's experience, it could be a bit of a hassle for sellers," Maxey says. "We've identified some things we can do to help shield Auctiva users from most of the brunt of making this change."

Auctiva's planned changes include:

  • Changing the Auctiva lister page so that newly created listings or listings being revised will be in compliance
  • Introducing a new bulk revision capability that Auctiva sellers can use to revise their saved listings and ensure that ads reposted or relisted after July 27 will also comply.
    • "We expect to have all this done and available for use on the Auctiva site in early June," Maxey continues. "We have more time with Good 'Til Canceled listings, as eBay is giving users until 2011 to include the new item condition information, and we're still looking into the best way to support the new requirement for these listings."

      eBay anticipates the new requirement will be good for all users of the site.

      "By making it mandatory, we're making the marketplace more transparent and helping to ensure smooth transactions between buyers and sellers," eBay says.

About the Author

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.

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