Seller protection: What are my rights? - Feedback and transaction defect rates

Whether you're running a business or just shifting some unwanted items, selling on eBay can be very profitable. Nine times out of ten, you won't have any problems, and the sales process is quick, easy and problem-free. However, there are occasions where you may run into problems, and those issues can end up affecting your eBay reputation and impacting your sales.
To help you avoid such occurrences, we've created this short guide. Read on to find out how to get the best feedback and avoid transaction defects.

What are transaction defects and how can I avoid them?

If any part of a transaction does not correlate with what you, the seller, promised or described in your listing, a transaction defect will appear on your seller dashboard. It is in your best interest to prevent defects, as sellers without them tend to have high customer satisfaction rates, increased sales and returning customers. 
As long as you follow eBay's selling best practices, you shouldn't receive any defects. Defects aren't always the sellers fault though, which is why eBay will remove them automatically in the following situations:
The buyer did not pay for an item, and an unpaid item case is recorded against them.
eBay rules its Money Back Guarantee in your favour.
A PayPal Purchase Protection case is ruled in your favour.
An issue with eBay's site or program caused the defect.
The buyer's activity violates the Buying Practices policy and eBay has taken action as a result.
Either PayPal or eBay cancels the transaction or tells you to hold a shipment.
The defect was caused by shipping or communication delays that was out of your hands e.g. your items were stuck in customs.

How to get automatic five-star ratings

Most buyers on eBay are courteous and will happily give you positive feedback in exchange for a problem-free transaction, but there are some buyers out there that can be rather unfair. Automatic five-star ratings can reduce the risk of receiving feedback which results in a transaction defect.
To receive an automatic five-star rating for shipping time, you must state in your listing that the product will be posted within one business day. You also need to upload the parcel's tracking information within one business day of receiving payment and the buyer must receive the item within four business days of postage. 
If you've fulfilled the above postage requirements, you have the chance to earn an automatic five-star rating for communication as well, so long as there are no communications in eBay Messages (started by either you or the buyer), no requests for contact information have taken place, and there are no eBay Money Back Guarantee requests or PayPal Purchase Protection cases pending.
Further, eBay will award you with an automatic five-star rating for shipping and handling charges if you offer free postage, and the buyer chooses that option. 

Extra protection with Fast 'N Free

To boost your seller protection further, you could try and get your listings marked as 'Fast 'N Free'. Doing so will ensure you're protected from low detailed seller ratings and unscrupulous buyers hoping to abuse the eBay Money Back Guarantee. There is no sure-fire way to get your listings labelled as Fast 'N Free, but there are a number of things you can do to significantly increase your chances, including:
Offering a free shipping option.
Offering a fast shipping option.
Uploading tracking information to My eBay every time you sell.
Shipping your items within 24 hours.

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