Every eBay dropshipper, whether new or old, has received the following email about the “Selling practices – drop shipping policy” from eBay regarding the eBay Dropshipping Policy:

Hello, We’ve determined that you haven’t followed our selling practices – drop shipping policy therefore, we will be removing your Top Rated Seller status until your account is in compliance with the policy. There is evidence on your account that you are purchasing items from an online retail or marketplace site after you sell the item on eBay and having that retailer ship the item directly to the customer. This is a violation of the terms and conditions section of our Selling practices policy, which states: 

– Items you list must be in your inventory or you must have an existing agreement with a third party to fulfill the delivery of the item under the terms of your listing.”

Now, let’s see in-depth what the selling practices messages of eBay means and try to understand better if it’s possible to dropship on eBay in 2020.

When Should I Expect The ‘eBay Selling Practices’ Email?

This message tends to arrive within the first couple of months on new eBay seller accounts and at any given time on older seller accounts. It has caused many speculations and raised many questions amongst eBay’s sellers. 

Not only dropshippers have received this message, but also sellers who ship from their own homes or warehouses. Here’s an example from eBay’s community site:

ebay dropshipping policy affecting sellers

The seller above has received the eBay Selling Practices email regarding dropshipping even though they hold their own stock and ship from the same location. This is because eBay uses a ‘robot’ to scan seller’s listings and assume whether or not this specific seller is dropshipping from a retailer or not. Therefore it is never precise.

Now, we understand that this message is an automatic message and has nothing to do with us dropshipping or not.

Is Dropshipping Still Allowed In 2020? 

This is the $1 million dollar question. So to answer this, let’s start by taking a glance at eBay’s dropshipping policy:

ebay policy about dropshipping

So on one hand, dropshipping is allowed. On the other hand, listing an item in which you purchase from a retailer who ships directly to your customer is not allowed. 

Dropshipping From Retailers

eBay doesn’t appreciate dropshipping using online retailers, such as Amazon, as opposed to dropshipping from wholesale suppliers (i.e Costway, Banggood, AliExpress). But, does this mean that if we dropship from retailers, our eBay account will be banned, limited or affected? The quick answer is: No!

eBay wants to ensure a safe marketplace for its customers like any other business. As long as you upload tracking details on time, take care of your cancellations and returns on time, use correct item locations (i.e do not use a USA item location if you’re dropshipping from China and vice versa) and provide clean, high-quality customer service to your buyers – you should have nothing to worry about. eBay sums it up quite easily themselves:

ebay policy on dropshipping

The Effect of Losing “Top-Rated” Status

Lossing-eBay-top-rated-status

Now that we have a better understanding of eBay’s “Seller practices – drop shipping” message, and it’s intention. Another confusion caused by this message is what will happen to our eBay Top-Rated status.

Once this message is received, if you’ve had a ‘Top Rated’ status on your seller level, by the next month, it switches to the Above Standard status.

But the thing is that if a seller loses his Top-Rated status because of dropshipping – it is usually possible due to low metrics and bad eBay seller performance.

The top-rated status is not as significant as some sellers believe and do not affect your listings impressions or eBay’s search algorithm.

Dropshippers accounts are being flagged when they are not running their stores correctly and do not follow eBay’s policy and guidelines.

Many sellers succeed even without the top-rated seller or with a flagged account.

How Will This Affect Your eBay Account and Sales?

Paul J Lipsky, a drop shipping expert, and a mentor has answered to one of our community member’s posts:

selling practices email affect on dropshipping account

This answer could not be more correct. This message that we receive from eBay is normal and has no impact on our sales. It has been a while since eBay has started sending these messages. And dropshippers have continued selling on their stores while ensuring a high level of customer service.

Why Does eBay Send This Message? 

eBay’s most important product is the buyer. As long as the buyer is satisfied with his purchase, he is most likely to return and purchase again on their platform, which increases their revenue (and us, the sellers). It’s a win-win situation, and it has been working this way for years.

On the other hand, some less experienced dropshippers have provided negative customer experience. While poor-selling activity eventually leads to an account ban, eBay sends this message in an attempt to filter out new inexperienced dropshippers who are most likely to cause negative customer service and overall damage on their platform and reputation.

Keep a Healthy Store and Stay Out of Trouble 

The key to having a long-lasting store is knowing eBay’s guidelines. The main and most important do’s and don’ts.

Once you’ve implemented these rules, your store will continue to grow and make sales, and you’ll realize how this “selling practices” message was not relevant in your case – an experienced dropshipper who treats his store like a real business that it is. And what are these guidelines, you ask? Look no further:

    1) Ship your items on time.

Make sure that your orders are shipped and tracking information is uploaded on time and according to your shipping policy.

Buyers like when they can track their shipments, and it’s an industry-standard in e-commerce.

    2) Communicate with your buyer.

Order running late? Let your buyer know with an updated delivery time. In some cases, they won’t mind the wait. Either way, this decreases the chances of them opening an “item not received” case, keeping a good rating on our eBay Account Seller Level.

Even if your order is out of stock or the supplier has increased the price, you should always practice excellent communication with your buyer. If the item is out of stock, search from other suppliers.

If it still can’t be found, search for a similar item and ask the buyer if he would prefer it instead. Try to offer a better price and preferably a better item than the one out of stock. Buyers enjoy good and honest customer service, and so does eBay.

    3) Do not upload VeRO protected listings.

Registered trademarks and patents are not allowed on eBay unless you have written consent from the brand owner.

Do not take chances with VeRO products and simply stay away from them. They are never worth the risk.

    4) Do not fake the item location.

If you’re dropshipping from China warehouses, do not use a USA item location zip code. Or any other country for that matter other than China.

If you’re dropshipping from multiple warehouses, which is the case for most dropshippers, you can write ‘multiple locations’ or use a zipcode from the same country that the item is shipped from. 

    5) Cases / Returns.

You should handle cases, returns, and cancellations on time. Do not wait for the last minute. Make sure that all of your cases are waiting for the buyer’s action and not yours.

As long as cases are closed without eBay having to intervene in favor of the buyer, your Seller Account should remain in good health.

What have we learned?

You know the old saying, “every day you learn something new”. Here’s a sum-up of how we’ve enriched our knowledge today, further expanding the entrepreneur level within us:

  • eBay’s Dropshipping policy – We are allowed to dropship, even from retailers such as Amazon. We just need to learn how to play by the rules.
  • Receiving the “Selling practices – drop shipping policy” message from eBay does not affect our seller account in any way.
  • Why is eBay sending this message? – eBay wants to filter out the new inexperienced dropshippers who are most likely to cause damage and provide negative customer experience on eBay’s platform. This message has caused many speculations, many of which “eBay dropshipping is dead”, thus helping further to filter them out.
  • How to maintain a High Seller level? – Ensuring a healthy account to continue driving in sales, even when not fully complying with eBay’s dropshipping Policy

We truly hope that you’ve enjoyed ready this article. Please comment below if you have any questions, we will be more than happy to answer.