FACTS ABOUT THE EBAY 5 STAR RATING SYTEM
Dear International and other Ebay Customers.
We are writing to you to help inform you of some facts that you may not be aware of as Ebay does not allow full disclosure of these facts on our websites in fear of losing customers. In the past several years, numerous sellers have quit selling on Ebay because Ebay appears to be penalizing the smaller businesses. We need you to know the facts about the 5 star rating system if we are going to continue to sell internationally online. We appreciate if you would take the time to read this since we are not allowed to post many of these facts on our auctions. We will be posting some of them and hoping that buyers take the time to read them. Thank you in advance.
After being online on Ebay for 6 years, due to the new "star" rating sytem, we recently lost our top seller status due to 3 complaints about international shipping prices and shipping times. In each case, we shipped the items within 24 hours (business hours) of receiving the paid order. In each case, we lost money on the shipping charges. In each case, we were rated on how long the POSTAL SERVICES took to deliver the items and on how much the postal services are charging for shipping instead of being rated on OUR performance. In none of those cases did the buyers consider the proper criteria for rating us. We believe that is because they don't understand the 5 star rating system which Ebay will not allow us to explain.
THE PROPER CRITERIA FOR THE SHIPPING RATING IS:
1. How long did it take us to ship the package from the time it was paid for? That's what we should be rated on. If the auction states 24-48 hours then that is the date to look for from the time the customer pays.
2. What were the actual shipping charges determined by the postal services. Simple enough to check. Ask the seller for the shipping weight, go to usps.com and put in the criteria and there it will show the actual shipping charges.
3. Checking the handling fees prior to agreeing to order. Our average handling fee is $2. If it is higher, it’s because we will lose money on the sale but that is when the customer has the choice not to order. Once agreeing to order, they should be agreeing not to penalize us for their choice.
WHAT THE POSTAL SERVICE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE RATED ON:
1. Postal service costs: The fact that the postal services have raised their prices dramatically over the past two years and are getting ready to do so again is a postal service complaint issue. Also, the fact that the USPS is considering bankruptcy means, if it happens, we and other small businesses like ours, will no longer be selling online as UPS and other services are outrageous and no customer will pay their charges.
2. Shipping times: Shipping times are estimates. Our ratings are not based on how long it takes to get the package to you. Our ratings, once again, are based on how long it took us to get your package to the PO. We have NO CONTROL over anything after that. I'm not sure why some buyers don't understand that. We don't accompany the postal services on their way to deliver the packages. We've been blamed for volcanoes, earthquakes, winter storms, hail, trucks breaking down, postal services scanning packages incorrectly, postal services losing packages, etc. yet every single buyer KNOWS that we have no control over those things. Still, the seller is the one who is blamed when a package is delayed or lost even though they have provided all the proof necessary to show that they took it to the post office.
In all of our 6 years online, selling on 4 different websites we have had two actual lost packages: Brazil and Boston. The Boston one turned up after 3 months. The Brazil one was never found (we no longer ship to Brazil). 2 packages were re-routed which means they were stuck in the postal system and it took three weeks to be delivered as they went to the wrong post offices but finally found their destination. Several packages were returned because customers provided wrong shipping addresses. Outside of that, the postal services did an excellent job for the thousands of packages we have mailed.
THE NEW STAR SYSTEM
Ebay link: http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/sellingresources/howdsrsarecalcaulated.html
Even though the same 3 individuals gave us positive feedback, they gave us less than 5 stars for all of the ratings, stating that the shipping charges and/or shipping times were too high or long, once again, even though we LOST money on those same shipping charges.
WHAT DO THE STARS MEAN?
Less than 5 stars for every rating simply means a NEGATIVE feedback and we are severely penalized for that. In other words, if a customer gives us 4 five star ratings and one 4 star rating during that same evaluation, that is the same as giving us negative feedback (although they gave us a total positive feedback rating). Ebay does not allow us to disclose this information on our auction listings as we receive WARNINGS for even trying to explain it. We have had to remove all explanations from our listings so our customers have no idea how the ratings can hurt us. On the flip side, what Ebay is not taking into consideration is the fact that there are very few of us who do ship internationally and as a result of their stiff penalties, our international customers will not have the same items available to their children as our USA customers do if we and others decide it isn't worth the risk to keep selling internationally.
POST OFFICE SHIPPING TIMES VARY, OUR SHIPPING TIMES DO NOT
For first class international, even though we ship within 24 to 48 hours, it can take up to 30 BUSINESS WEEKDAYS to receive a package and sometimes even longer. For Priority Mail International - 6-10 BUSINESS WEEKDAYS or even longer. The prices are set by the USPS and your country's postal system. We cannot manipulate those in any way.
The cost FOR SHIPPING is set by your postal service as well. We lose an average of $3-$4 off of our profit for every international package we ship compared to actually breaking even on our USA deliveries.
WHO WE ARE
We are in business to make a profit. We have families and bills to pay. We are everyday working parents and grandparents, just like you. Please see us as people and not machines with no feelings. We ask that you treat us as you would have others treat you.
You no longer have to get in your car to find these items which most of the time are not available in stores. You don't have to make numerous phone calls to find the items, taking up your valuable time. We have taken the time to shop for our customers, pay the same high shipping charges from our distributors to get the items to our location so we can reship them to you, pay for the packaging materials including printer ink, paper, packaging tape. We pay for the gas and mileage to get our customer's items to the post office and, we NEVER make a profit on these items or our time which averages 10-15 minutes per customer.
We are a small family business. It is our work at home business and only main source of income. We are raising and trying to support our families just like you are. Many sellers on Ebay used to be like that until Ebay started wooing the big box stores because of the millions of dollars in fees they get from their listings. The little guys like us now have to compete against them. We continue to stay on Ebay out of necessity because a $1 profit on something is better than $0. We have to sell high volume to make ends meet and that is what we do. We work long hours, often corresponding with our customers way after our bedtimes, especially our international customers whose timezones are completely the opposite of ours. Our prices are some of the lowest on the internet and we finally, after 6 years online, raised them 10% this last year even though our supplier has raised their prices every year.
This is the first penalty we have received in 6 years since selling online with Ebay. We have maintained 100% positive feedback, thanks to our customers who appreciate us. That is not easy to do and we know that at any time that can change. We never take that for granted. We are very upset about this first ever drop in our rating because of this new star system (and lack of the ability to explain it to our customers on our webpages) as it is costing us hundreds of dollars in extra fees. We are being penalized for three months. In other words, even though we have gotten all five star ratings recently, we have to wait for three months until the bad ratings “fall off” as Ebay put it. Within that three months, if we get penalized again, we will have to wait another 3 months and so on. What's even worse is that some sellers are on the 12 month time period. If they get a bad rating within the 12 months, that stays on their record for a whole year! This is almost like health insurance for those who have preexisting conditions. If you go for 11 months without going to the doctors for a preexisting condition that you have and then in the 12th month have to go out of necessity, you are penalized and your preexisting condition rating starts all over again for another 12 months. It's just not a fair system.
Our International customers will still be able to purchase from our website if we leave Ebay or stop selling internationally: http://shop.nubysippycup.com On our website we have lower shipping charges on average because we don't have to worry about paying the Ebay fees. We still have to pay Paypal fees which average $1.50-$2.00 per international sale and higher depending on the total cost of the items. Ebay takes 10% off of the selling price and now, this year, they are also taking an additional 10% off the shipping charges. In our opinion, which we and thousands of other small businesses have voiced to Ebay, it is unfair and outrageous. Ebay is a multi-billion dollar company and so is Paypal. Ebay owns Paypal or Paypal owns Ebay and that is also why, over the past few years, Ebay has not allowed us to accept any other form of payment such as checks or money orders because they can't make a fee on those forms of payment. Our customers lose our and we lose out on extra orders because of that. Ebay and Paypal, once again, benefit just like they did from us losing our top seller rating. They are making an extra $300 in fees from us over the next 3 months.
We feel that we should be able to at least explain the star system in a paragraph on our listings but we are warned if we even try. So this is our feeble attempt to let you know, as a customer, that we value your business but we also would like you to know how to rate us on the shipping and handling times and charges. Once again, if we get the package to the PO within 24-48 hours (or whatever time the website states), then we have done our job. We always pay for and provide a customs form number or tracking (USA) to show when we drop the packages off. Look for that date to rate us.
If you placed the order and you saw all of the charges up front, then please be content with that. If you don't agree with the charges, while keeping in mind that we are losing money on the shipping charges, then we would hope that you would reconsider ordering from us rather than giving us a lower star rating for something you already agreed to. The fact that we are willing to take the associated risks so far on shipping international packages should tell you something about us. We care about your families as well and know that you need the products. Help us to stay online by rating us correctly and contacting your postal services if there is a postal question or issue instead.
If we did a bad job, then all we ask is that you contact us BEFORE YOU LEAVE FEEDBACK and that if you do contact us that you don't accuse us of being scammers, or swear at us, or not think before you speak. 99% of our customers are polite and kind and do realize that we are all human and make mistakes but there are the small few who don't understand that mistakes can be made.
Thank you for reading our post and considering all that we have stated here. We hope to continue to sell online for many years in the future.