eBay support for your business during the developing COVID-19 situation

Archived on 5 November 2020

Note:  This page was last updated on 8 October 2020

What you need to know:

  • From 9 October 2020, new businesses registering on eBay.co.uk won't pay listing fees until 31 December 2020 – see below for details.
  • Your account will be protected from being downgraded from the 20 March Seller performance standard evaluation until the 20 June evaluation. Plus, we’ve taken the necessary measures to ensure your Seller Performance is not impacted should there be delays or interruptions to postage services.
  • We're giving you some suggestions to help you manage your business on eBay in the case of temporary closure. Find out more about the out-of-stock option and holiday settings.
  • Find out the latest carrier and Click & Collect updates.
  • We’re restricting the sale of some items on the platform.

At the moment, we’re receiving a large number of calls due to the current circumstances. As a result, customer service wait times are longer than usual. Please read the page below for the latest updates on Coronavirus before calling. Please be aware we are unable to help with PayPal specific problems. We would advise members to review PayPal’s statement on their services here.

Seller Help, our new tool that allows you to manage and resolve all of your selling issues in one place, is now available. Go to Seller Help to get started.

The impact of the developing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation is becoming increasingly evident in our everyday lives and may also have an impact on your business. We’re monitoring the developments very closely and are in close contact with the authorities to keep you informed.

We’re here to help you make arrangements to prepare for any possible impact on your business.

Support for business sellers

Support for new business sellers

From Friday 9th October, registered businesses joining eBay UK won’t pay any fees on the first 100 items they sell each month. They will only pay 50% fees on the following 100 items and 25% on the next 100 sold until the end of the year (31 December).

This means that new sellers will only have to pay as their business grows.

Please read our terms and conditions here for more details.

Seller protections for UK Sellers

We understand that things are difficult at the moment for many of us and you often can’t get an item out of the door as fast as you’d like or you may need to unexpectedly cancel an order. We want to reassure you and remind you of the measures in place to ensure your Seller Performance is not affected in case of delays or interruptions to postal services that are beyond your control.

Please note, this protection relates specifically to your Seller Performance Standards level and Service Metrics. If we observe activity on your account that needs to be verified, we may have to temporarily restrict your account privileges while we work on your case. The required verifications are a key element in helping to create a trusted marketplace and may include: proof of identity, address, inventory or order fulfilment.

Seller protections on Seller levels and performance standards 

  • If your current account level is Top-Rated Seller or Above Standard, it will be protected from being downgraded to a lower level from 20 March until 20 June 2020.

  • For your Seller Performance Standards level evaluation, we’ll automatically remove Late Delivery counts, Seller Cancellation defects, and associated Negative or Neutral feedback received for these specific transactions between 1 March to 30 June 2020.

Seller protections on Service Metrics 

  • Your item not received count (INR) in Service Metrics and associated Negative or Neutral feedback will be automatically removed for transactions between 1 March to 30 June 2020. We will remove it on the condition that you uploaded valid tracking. The following conditions also apply:
  1. The item was delivered within 10 days of the estimated delivery date if both seller and buyer are in the same country.

  2. The item was delivered within 30 days of the Estimated Delivery Date on international transactions.

Things to remember

We’ll be processing Defect removals and associated Negative or Neutral feedback as quickly as possible. Please be aware that it may take up to a week for them to be removed. There may be a short period of time when this information appears in your account before being removed.

Your account Seller Performance Standards level for the 20 July evaluation will be evaluated based on transactions over the past 12 calendar months up until 30 June 2020 - minus the Defects that were removed. If you’ve sold more than 400 items in the past 3 months, you’ll be evaluated based on the last 3 months up until 30 June 2020 - minus the Defects that were removed.

As always, we want to ensure that we assist you in delivering the best possible experience for your buyers. It’s best practice to keep open and honest communication with your buyers. Please let them know if there will be a delay in delivery and try to ensure that your handling times honestly reflect the current circumstances.

For more details please see our announcement from 24.04.2020: here.

Government Advice

If you are an eBay business seller, please note that the Government has also announced a package of measures to support businesses. This includes a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help pay employees’ wages, statutory sick pay relief, business rates holidays, grant funding for retailers (with more for some SMEs), loans to help with cash flow, and assistance to businesses struggling to pay their taxes.

More general information from the government can be found here:

Advice for businesses closed temporarily

If you’re affected by a temporary closure of your business, you can take the following steps:

Holiday settings

If you're an eBay Shop subscriber, you can activate holiday settings and hide your fixed price listings in eBay search until you return. We recommend you also manually extend your handling times in case customers still place orders (for example if the item was in their basket before you activated holiday settings). Auction listings will continue to run for the set duration. Learn more

"Out of stock" option

If you activate the "Out of stock" option by setting the stock of your Good ‘Til Cancelled listings to 0, your listings will disappear from eBay searches and you’ll protect your sales history for when you’re ready to start trading again. Normally, listings are automatically ended if they’ve been out of stock for 90 consecutive days. To help you retain your sales history for longer, we’ll now keep your listings active for 180 consecutive days. You may be eligible for an insertion fee credit. Learn more.

Advice for businesses still trading

Please ensure you are following Government guidance on social distancing. To minimise contact with other people, please consider taking the following steps:

  • If you normally visit your Post Office or parcel drop-off point, please make sure that you follow the new in-store process and stay 2 metres apart from others. Learn more

  • Remember: Before you travel to the Post Office or drop-off point, please make sure you check the opening hours. They may have been changed. https://www.postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder

  • If you normally pay for postage in the Post Office, you can buy and print postage labels yourself via eBay. For non-tracked Royal Mail services, just drop the packaged item into a letterbox or parcel postbox - you don’t need to visit the Post Office. Learn more

  • Use Click & Drop from Royal Mail to prepay for postage and drop off your items  https://parcel.royalmail.com/

  • You can book home pick-up services from a number of courier companies (Hermes, UPS, DHL) when you buy postage labels from eBay. Learn more

  • If you use another courier service, please contact them about using their parcel collection services instead of dropping parcels off.

  • If you are struggling to dispatch your items every day due to the current situation, you can adjust your dispatch time on each listing or in bulk. 

  • To change your dispatch times in bulk:
  1. In Seller Hub go Active Listings.
  2. Select the listings you want to edit and click Edit selected.

  3. Select your listings in the Edit fields drop-down and select Dispatch time.

  4. Edit your dispatch time and Save.

Delivery and returns updates

Estimated Delivery Day(s)  

We're actively working with carriers and International logistics providers to understand and monitor their operational status, performance and make changes to delivery estimates as we deem necessary.

As it stands, we have made some adjustments on site for domestic deliveries. Please see changes below for specific services.

For exports, we have added an additional 2 days for all deliveries to France, Italy & Spain to account for delivery delays in those markets. We continue to actively monitor the situation for all other regions and countries. We've also stopped exports for non-GSP to any country based on Royal Mail’s International Incident Bulletin.

We're continuing to actively monitor the situation for all other regions and countries.

Click & Collect

The majority of our store network is now operating and offering a Click & Collect service as usual. Some Argos stores and all Sainsbury’s Collection Points remain unavailable.

Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines when visiting any of our store locations.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail remains open for business. The postal service is a key part of the UK’s infrastructure. The delivery of parcels and letters is a way of keeping the country together, your business operating and helping many people who may not have the option to leave their homes. Royal Mail continues to work hard to collect, process and deliver as much mail and parcels as possible in difficult circumstances.

Despite Royal Mail’s best endeavours, it's likely that some areas of the country will experience a reduction in service levels due to Coronavirus-related absences at local mail centres or delivery offices. On 28th April we amended all Royal Mail services to a Monday to Friday service to account for them temporarily not delivering some services on Saturdays. Customers can still post both letters and parcels as usual on Saturday.

To help you during this uncertain time when it is difficult to drop off your mail, Royal Mail have extended their post-by dates for labels purchased on eBay. Post-by dates have been extended from next working day to 7 calendar days from when you have printed your label to posting your mail. This means that if you buy and print a label on Friday, you will now have until the end of the following Friday to post your mail. Thank you for your patience. Royal Mail are working hard to deliver the UK’s post in difficult circumstances. Keep up-to-date here.  

Additionally, for items posted from Thursday 19 March 2020 onwards, Royal Mail will no longer guarantee deliveries by 1 pm the next working day. They'll still prioritise Special Delivery parcels and letters and will aim to deliver by 1 pm or before the end of the day. Resource implications of the latest coronavirus advice mean they may not be able to meet the customer promise of guaranteed next day delivery in all locations at all times.

eBay will reflect these changes and update the lead time for this service to 1-2 days.

International delivery

Royal Mail are working with their airline and postal/courier partners across the globe to maintain services. The number of countries that Royal Mail can access is changing daily. Most major export routes remain open and we continue to accept and process mail. Specifically, Royal Mail’s international services to the USA remain operational.  There are significant delays to a number of countries right now due to a lack of available transport links and suspension of certain country’s postal operations. Please visit Royal Mail’s International Incident Bulletin for further updates here.

Global Shipping Programme 

The Global Shipping programme is still open and active to all eligible countries.  We are working with all the logistics providers globally to ensure the movement of orders from the UK to our global buyers in these uncertain times. 

  • Where goods are usually transported via air (mainly US, Australia, New Zealand), we have had to extend delivery times due to restrictions on commercial planes, however these parcels are still being processed and delivered.   
  • Where goods are transported via road (mainly Europe) we have had to extend delivery times due to the delay crossing borders and local restrictions. 

Emergency listing restrictions

Please be aware of our latest guidelines on listing and pricing for important items: 

  • Health claims and misuse of keywords: titles and item descriptions containing health claims and misusing terms such as "Coronavirus", "Covid-19", ‘Virus”, "epidemic" are prohibited.

  • Prices inflated over prevailing market value: listings that attempt to profit from tragedies and disasters (such as the Coronavirus outbreak) are prohibited.
  • Laws and Regulations: we recognise this is a fast changing situation. We advise sellers to always check local laws, regulations and guidelines when listing. We will continue to monitor the situation globally and provide further updates as necessary.

23 March - Face Masks, Hand Sanitisers, and Cleaning Wipes & Pads

From 23 March 2020, we’re heavily restricting the sale of all Face Masks, Hand Sanitisers, and Cleaning Wipes & Pads products from the platform in a bid to stamp out unreasonably priced listings. Only approved eBay sellers will be permitted to continue trading these items at appropriate prices, enabling people to continue sourcing the items they need.

Unapproved sellers attempting to sell these items will find their listings blocked or removed and their account may be suspended.

Approved sellers may sell the corresponding products in the following approved categories only:

  • Business, Office & Industrial > Healthcare, Lab & Dental > Medical, Lab & Dental Supplies > Disposable Face Masks

  • Health & Beauty  > Health Care > Hand Sanitisers

  • Business, Office & Industrial > Cleaning & Janitorial Supplies > Cleaners & Disinfectants > Cleaning Wipes & Pads

We will sweep all other categories for restricted or banned items listed outside the approved categories. All banned  or restricted items placed in the wrong categories will be removed, even if the seller is approved. 

Please note, sellers may lose their approved status if:

  • their business drops to Below Standard;
  • prices are unreasonably inflated; or

  • the seller breaches eBay policies.

24 March - Baby Formula & Milk, Toilet Roll

From 24 March 2020, we’re restricting the sale of all Baby Formula & Milk, and Toilet Roll products. For an indefinite period, only business sellers will be permitted to continue trading these items at the appropriate prices.

Private sellers attempting to sell these items will find their listings blocked or removed and their account may be suspended.

The new restrictions apply to the following categories:

  • Baby Essentials > Baby Feeding Supplies > Baby Bottle Feeding > Baby Formula (including Baby Milk)

  • Home, Furniture & DIY > Household & Laundry Supplies > General Household Supplies > Toilet Roll

26 March - Tampons, Baby Wipes, and Nappies

From 26 March 2020, we’re restricting the sale of all Tampons, Baby Wipes, and Nappies from the platform. For an indefinite period, only business sellers will be permitted to continue trading these items at the appropriate prices.

Private sellers attempting to sell these items will find their listings blocked or removed and their account may be suspended.

The new restrictions will apply to the following categories:

  • Health & Beauty > Healthcare Products > Feminine Care Products > Tampons

  • Baby Essentials > Baby Changing & Nappies > Baby Wipes, Creams & Cotton Wool (Baby Wipes)

  • Baby Essentials > Baby Changing & Nappies > Nappies

We will monitor other categories for restricted or banned items listed outside the approved categories. All banned or restricted items placed in the wrong categories will be removed.

Please note, business sellers may not be able to sell these items if:

  • their business drops to Below Standard;
  • prices are unreasonably inflated; or

  • the seller breaches eBay policies.

Other information

Community Board: Fees deferral programme

Community Board: eBay Shop subscription refunds

Community Board: eBay invoice payment plan

Community Board: Click & Collect store closures

Community Board: Latest listing restrictions 24 March

Community Board: Emergency listing restrictions

Community Board: Protecting your seller performance during COVID-19

Community Board: Important reminder about our listing policies