8 min article

Service metrics policy

Our service metrics are intended to help sellers provide a great experience for all buyers. We provide detailed insights and peer benchmarks to indicate how well you're performing compared to others with a similar selling profile.

As of 1 August 2022, the additional fees (as described below) for sellers whose rates of 'Item not as described' returns are significantly higher than their peers are 5.5% (incl. GST).

Every month we take a look at how many times your buyers reported that they didn't receive an item or requested a return because their item wasn't as described. We count all opened cases because even if you resolved the issue promptly, it indicates that the transaction didn't go as smoothly for the buyer as it could have.

There are many factors which can influence the number of cases in your service metrics (such as types of items or seasonality), so we don't set limits for these. Instead, we take the average rates from other sellers with similar sales activity – or "peers" – as a benchmark to evaluate your performance. We also have some safeguards in place to protect sellers and ensure fair evaluation.

It's important to check your service metrics regularly so that you can see how you compare to other sellers. Use the button below to see details of your service metrics, including your projected rate for the next evaluation. Note that this projection may change if more cases are opened.

View service metrics dashboard - opens in new window or tab

If your rates of 'Item not received' or 'Item not as described' have increased, or are considered high compared to your peers, it's important to focus on minimising these issues as soon as possible – this will help to improve your rating at the next evaluation. For more help, read our article on Monitoring and improving your seller performance.

We'll only calculate service metrics for you if we have enough data. Depending on how much you sell, you may not see service metrics for all your categories, or we may not show any data in your service metrics dashboard at all.

What is the policy?

Sellers are expected to minimise the number of times that their buyers either:

  • Report that an item hasn't arrived
  • Request a return because an item doesn't match the listing

Rather than simply measuring these as a percentage of your sales, we compare your rates to those of sellers with similar items, prices, postage options and terms of sale.

Your service metrics are evaluated on the 20th of each month, and you'll be rated as Low, Average, High or Very High compared to your peers.

Other eBay members can't see your service metrics. We may place some limitations on your selling activity if you are rated Very High.

Service metrics are provided for your listings on eBay.com.au as well as a number of other eBay sites. For more information about how your performance is evaluated when selling internationally, please read our Global seller performance policy.

How we benchmark performance

On the 20th of each month, we take a look at your recent transactions to work out your service metrics and peer benchmark.

To make sure we're getting a fair picture, we'll adjust how far we look back (the "evaluation period") depending on how much you've sold recently:

  • If you had more than 400 transactions in the past 3 months, we'll count all those transactions.
  • If you had fewer than 400 transactions in the past 3 months, we'll count all your transactions from the last 12 months.

To help understand how evaluations work, please see our calculation examples below.

Your service metrics evaluation is different to your seller standards evaluation. Whether your seller level is Below Standard, Above Standard or Top Rated depends on how many of your sales weren't fulfilled, or had unresolved issues. This is explained in our Seller standards policy.

Service metrics and peer benchmark

For your service metrics, we count how many times your buyers have either:

  • Reported that an item hasn't arrived
  • Requested a return because an item doesn't match the listing

Peer benchmarking means we look at how your rates compare with those of other sellers who have similar sales activity, items and business policies.

Service metric

What it means

Who we compare against

'Item not received' rate

The percentage of your transactions where a buyer reported that the item didn't arrive or was not available for collection

Other sellers who:

  • Have a comparable volume of transactions, with the same evaluation period
  • Sell items on the same eBay site with a similar price
  • Post to the same destinations with similar expected delivery timeframes

'Item not as described' return rate

The percentage of your transactions where a buyer requested a return for one of the following reasons:

  • Doesn't work or defective
  • Doesn't match description or photos
  • Wrong item sent
  • Missing parts or pieces
  • Arrived damaged
  • Doesn't seem authentic

Other sellers who:

  • Have a comparable volume of transactions, with the same evaluation period
  • Sell items in the same categories as you with a similar price and item condition
  • Have similar return policies and delivery time frames

Postage destinations

When comparing 'Item not received' rates, we take into account where sellers are sending their items:

  • Domestic: The item location and delivery address are in the same country
  • International – matured region: The delivery address is in one of the following regions:
    • United States and its territories
    • Canada
    • Australia
    • China
    • Hong Kong
    • Taiwan
    • Japan
    • New Zealand
    • South Korea
    • Israel
    • United Arab Emirates
    • Singapore
    • Most European countries and British Territories
  • International – emerging region: The delivery address is neither 'Domestic' nor 'International – matured region'

Calculation examples

These examples illustrate how we compare and evaluate sellers for each type of service metric.

See 'Item not received' service metrics example

Kathryn runs a boutique pre-loved fashion business on eBay as well as a busy household. She uses tracked labels, but can generally only make it to the post office once a week to drop parcels off, meaning some items take a little longer than expected to arrive.

Kathryn's Fashions – small business

Peer group

Evaluation period

12 months (1,000 transactions)

Listing site

eBay.com.au

Postage destination

Domestic

Average selling price

$53

$50-100

Average delivery time frame

3-7 days

Less than or equal to 10 business days

'Item not received' report rate

1.1%

 

11 of 1,000 transactions

1.8%

 

Avg. % of sellers' transactions

Service metrics rating

Low allowed icon

 

See 'Item not as described' service metrics example

Bird Watches is a family business specialising in casual and sporting watches. Over the past couple of years, they've been increasing their sales on eBay and it's now an important part of their turnover. They recently sourced some stock from a new supplier, but unfortunately many of the batteries were defective, which led to a high number of returns.

Bird Watches – medium business

Peer group

Evaluation period

3 months (1,000 transactions)

Listing site

eBay.com.au

Category

Jewellery & Watches

Average selling price

$127

Over $100

Average item condition

New

Average return policy

Returns accepted

Average delivery time frame

3 days

Less than or equal to 10 business days

'Item not as described' return rate

7.8%

 

78 of 1,000 transactions

1.3%

 

Avg. % of sellers' transactions

Service metrics rating

Very High not allowed icon

 

What the service metrics ratings mean

Your service metric ratings for 'Item not received' and 'Item not as described' give you an indication of how well you're preventing buyer issues, compared to your peers.

Rating

What it means

Low

You're performing better than most of your peers in making sure that buyers receive their orders promptly, and in setting and meeting buyers' expectations about your items.

Average

You're performing as well as your peers, but you may have opportunities to reduce preventable requests.

High

You're not performing as well as your peers in ensuring your buyers received their orders as expected.

 

If any of your service metrics are High compared to your peers, but the rate is less than 1%, that rating will be adjusted to 'Average'.

Very High

Your 'Item not received' rate or 'Item not as described' return rate is significantly statistically different to your peers.

 

If any of your service metrics are Very High compared to your peers, but the rate is less than 1%, that rating will be adjusted to 'Average'.

What happens if your rating is Very High

If your service metrics evaluation on the 20th of the month shows that your 'Item not received' and 'Item not as described' rates are significantly higher than your peers, we may put measures in place to help manage buyers' expectations when ordering from you. To see what you can do to bring your rates back down, read our article on Monitoring and improving your seller performance.

Some limitations are applied straight away after the evaluation, while others take effect from the 1st of the following month. If your service metrics rating improves at a future evaluation, the same time frames will apply for limitations to be removed.

Very High 'Item not received' rate

Directly after the evaluation:

  • For the postage destinations where you are currently evaluated as Very High, we may add extra time when showing buyers an expected delivery date for your items.
  • You'll no longer be eligible for an eBay Plus badge on your listings.
  • You'll be unable to give a partial refund if an item is returned used or damaged

Very High 'Item not as described' rate

Directly after the evaluation:

  • You'll no longer be eligible for an eBay Plus badge on your listings.
  • You'll be unable to give a partial refund if an item is returned used or damaged

From the 1st day of the month following the evaluation:

Fair evaluation, seller protections and appeals

Our service metrics are intended to look at your performance in context. We understand that some types of items will see more returns than others, and that international deliveries usually take longer than domestic ones. Peer benchmarking helps us identify sellers whose rates of 'Item not received' reports or 'Item not as described' returns are statistical outliers.

Fair evaluation and seller protections

To ensure your ratings are based on valid statistics and fair comparisons, and that we only place limitations on selling activity when significant differences are identified:

  • We only benchmark you against sellers with similar sales activity, items and business policies (see How we benchmark performance).
  • We may adjust a rating in certain circumstances so that it won't affect your account. When we do this, you'll see a message in the service metrics dashboard. For example:
    • Your sales have grown and you've changed from a 12-month to a 3-month evaluation period and peer group. If this results in your rating becoming Very High, we'll adjust your rating and limitations won't apply for one evaluation cycle.
    • A service metric rating is High or Very High, but the rate of reports/requests is less than 1% of transactions.
  • A Very High rating won't affect your account unless it involves at least 10 reports/requests with 10 unique buyers.

Additionally, we have some safeguards in place to protect your ratings and help you in case you have a problem. For example:

  • If we determine that a buyer has violated our Abusive buyer policy, we'll automatically remove any 'Item not received' reports or 'Item not as described' return requests they had filed from service metrics.
  • We may extend expected delivery dates and/or remove 'Item not received' reports from service metrics when things happen that cause widespread delays, such as severe weather or carrier disruptions.

Learn more about our seller protections.

Appeals

We'll only remove 'Item not received' reports or 'Item not as described' return requests from your service metrics when they fall under our automated seller protections.

As described above, your service metrics ratings need to be statistically meaningful and substantially worse than your peer group in order for limitations to be applied, so individual reports/requests shouldn't adversely affect your account standing.

If you believe a buyer is not following our policies, you can report the buyer - opens in new window or tab and we'll look into it.

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