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A new incentive to become an eBay PowerSeller

August 2nd, 2007 by Skip McGrath

A new pilot program has just been launched to credit PowerSellers Feature fees on unpaid items

I’m a PowerSeller, so obviously I am thrilled about this new feature that will credit me back my Featuring fees when a buyer doesn’t pay for an item. But I have a feeling not all eBay users will feel that way. Yes, eBay is changing how they categorize PowerSellers so low-price, high-volume sellers and seasonal sellers will become eligable, but that doesn’t cover everyone. Still, I think it’s a great step in the right direction and it really gives sellers an incentive to go that extra mile to become a PowerSeller.

There are a few restrictions:

  1. The listing must be auction, or auction plus Buy It Now option.
  2. Shipping and handling charges must be reasonable.
  3. PayPal is accepted.
  4. The seller must file an unpaid item request with eBay.

Unfortunately, eBay is as vague as ever about what "reasonable shipping charges" are but if you use common sense (as I always recommend) and don’t try to use shipping as a profit center, you should be fine.

The only other concern is that you must file an unpaid item request. Yes, that’s got to be a requirement, but many PowerSellers choose to assume the insertion and final value fees rather than going through the unpaid item process. Even if you do a mutual withdrawal from transaction, many buyers (usually newbies) get spooked when they see the full-page alert from eBay next time they log in and don’t agree to it. Now you’re stuck because you can’t go back and refile. If you file a non-paying bidder report that would count against the buyer, you risk negative feedback. In the past it’s not really been worth the hassle for the amount you would get back. Now, however, when you add in the feature fees, it becomes more worth the risk. I’ll be interested to see how this impacts seller’s feedback, particularly considering they have to maintain 98% positive to remain part of the PowerSeller program.

The program became effective August 1st and will run until the end of the year. It may be extended at that point, but eBay has made the point that they need to evaluate any unforeseen knock-on effects of this new program.

For all I am happy to be eligable for this program, I do feel that eBay is moving further and further away from its roots. Programs like this are only going to distance new or occasional sellers from the PowerSellers.

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