Sellers include individuals and corporations. In 2007, eBay introduced Detailed Seller Ratings, or DSRs, designed to provide buyers with a way to evaluate sellers' performance. Once a seller accumulates 10 DSRs, his feedback profile displays an average rating for each of four criteria, rated on a scale from one to five. Maintaining DSRs at stipulated levels qualifies a seller's listings for better visibility, whereas failing to maintain those levels diminishes his chances of attracting customers or even remaining active on eBay.
DSRs provide ratings in four categories of seller performance. "Item as Described" rates the accuracy of the seller's description of a product in light of a buyer's satisfaction with its condition and features. "Communication" reflects how well and how thoroughly the seller keeps a buyer apprised of each step from purchase through delivery and responds to buyer messages. "Shipping Time" evaluates how promptly a seller sends merchandise, and may reflect an automatic high score based on meeting specific criteria established by eBay. "S&H Charge" shows the buyer's reaction to shipping and handling costs. This DSR category can't be rated on products sold with free shipping or local pickup.
EBay requires its sellers to maintain DSR averages that include no more than specified numbers of the lowest two score levels. Evaluation periods vary depending on the number of transactions an individual seller completes, with high-volume sellers evaluated over three-month periods and lower-volume sellers ranked over 12-month time frames. "Item as described" scores must include no more than one percent of ratings at the two lowest levels. The remaining DSR categories must show no more than two percent of these low rankings. In both cases, the total number of occurrences can't exceed three unique dissatisfied buyers.
PowerSellers and Top-Rated Sellers
PowerSellers on eBay deal in significant sales volume and receive perks that reflect their preferred status. These advantages include discounts on shipping costs through the US Postal Service and UPS, extra protection against non-paying buyers, special offers and merchandise, and greater access to eBay support personnel. PowerSellers must average 4.6 or above on all DSRs and meet or exceed the low-score standards established as minimum criteria. Beyond the PowerSeller program, eBay's most-active sellers can qualify for Top-Rated status if their DSRs include no more than 0.50 percent of the lowest two score levels and they meet sales-volume requirements.
PowerSellers and Top-Rated Sellers whose DSRs drop below the required averages can lose their favored status, even if their sales volume continues to meet eBay's requirements. Sellers with lower levels of sales activity whose DSRs drop below the minimum standards face sales restrictions, including demotion of their listings behind higher-rated sellers' items in search results. In extreme cases, sellers can lose their trading privileges altogether during a temporary or even a permanent ban from eBay. To keep sellers apprised of their status and help them improve or maintain their rankings, eBay offers customizable reports that show comparisons based on buyer location, product categories, sales time frames, listing layouts and shipping criteria.