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eBay's revamped feedback system


eBay is planning to change its feedback system to stop sellers from leaving negative feedback about buyers. The new rules will come in to effect from May and apply worldwide. Sellers have complained that by still allowing buyers to leave negative feedback on sellers, they have skewed the trading process. eBay countered this complaint -- a spokesman said, "If a buyer doesn't pay, the seller can easily contact eBay; we will review any complaint and maybe remove the buyer."

This change of policy gives the feedback system a massive overhaul. eBay hopes it will "improve the overall customer experience" and give users a fairer overview of transactions. Under the current rules, many users are reluctant to leave negative feedback about a seller because the seller would be likely to leave negative feedback in retaliation.

I wonder whether this will have a significant impact. As a regular eBay buyer, I think it's a positive move. I've often received a bad service with sellers not making contact for weeks after an auction has ended or payment made. Even in situations like this, leaving negative feedback is never an option as you can be sure you'll automatically receive negative feedback yourself and it's normally just not worth the bother.

Maybe a few eBay sellers could share their view?

19 comments
jthree
jthree

It is only fair provided e-bay does follow up on buyers that do not pay, etc. My experience with a crooked seller on e-bay went to dispute resolution and was ruled in my favour. The crooked seller was required to refund my purchase and shipping charges. When I left negative feedback as I felt it was my duty to warn others (that is what feedback is for isn't it?), he also left me negative feedback. I would have loved to give future customers of his a chance to read some of his e-mails to me. Other than feedback, there is no mechanism to warn buyers of crooks.

Eynog
Eynog

As both a buyer and a seller, I have reservations about this. I have had to go thru the eBay/Paypal dispute process, which really drags on and on, sending a warning, waiting to hear, etc. If you don't want it, don't bid on it, and if you bid on it, pay for it. Like most of these posts I have seen, I use paypal and pay as soon as I win, but right now I have an item I paid for 2 weeks ago, and its still not reached me. I get lots of compaints about shipping, but bottom line is shipping costs now a days, and I do "pad" my shipping rates by a buck to cover packing materials, that I don't get for free, Delivery Confirmation, etc. So I have proof when disputes come as a seller that I shipped it, and it arrived. "Let the Buyer beware" was the motto in using eBay when I started, and it holds true now. Feedback for both sides is necessary, though I do believe feedback for buyers could be more "automated" Something that notes you paid immediately should automatically give you positive feedback, showing you paid within x mins/hours/days of auction end. Sellers should have something in place where disputes are judged, before negative feedback is left. Proof should be shown. If a buyer contacte me with a problem, I try to work it out with them to both of our satisfaction. If buyers try to work with the sellers, instead of just dropping bad feedback, I think things could work out better. Most sellers want to have happy buyers, not unhappy ones.

ITSa341
ITSa341

I feel the feedback should be hidden until after BOTH parties have left feedback ( impossible to hold feedback hostage ) and also more information should be allowed ( copies of emails between buyer and seller, links to other pertinent information, saved copies of the auction page etc ) as well as links to contact a buyer or seller who left bad feedback to ask for more information and documentation before I do business with them etc. Ebay should also have a way that anyone receiving negative feedback can dispute the negative feedback. If I leave a seller negative feedback and they retaliate claiming I took weeks to pay, I should be able to send documentation to ebay showing I paid via paypal immediately. The negative feedback should then be removed from my record and the seller who lied should be charged for the cost of ebay investigating it. Same thing both ways. If you dispute the feedback and loose, you pay the cost to check it out, if you win the other party pays. etc

lastchip
lastchip

As with all things, it relies on buyers being scrupulously honest, as the seller has no (public) reprisal. I can see the positive side, but a bit dubious about the negative. Let's face it, there are people that will complain about absolutely anything and this almost gives them a free rein. On balance though, it's probably good.

jrich
jrich

I agree. I have been a seller in no-win situations with buyers. One buyer I worked with was completely unhappy with a brand-new item they purchased from me. It was sealed and unopened. They demanded their money back, or they would leave me negative feedback. They said that I had sent them a used, broken, item. They did send the item back and I did refund all of their money, and paid return shipping. When I received the returned item, it was in the exact same condition as I had sent it: unopened and brand new. They had not even used it to find out if it was broken. The only reason I could come up with that would explain why they wanted their money back was buyer's remorse. I later re-listed the item and sold it to someone who left me positive feedback. I think that this revamp may decrease the importance of feedback overall. There will likely be a marked increase in negative feedback for all sellers.

calvin13
calvin13

I am not totally in favor of this. I understand the reasoning. What I think would be better is if eBay could come up with a way that sellers would not be able to hold feedback hostage. How about the buyer cannot leave feedback until the sellers leave feedback first. The biggest problem is the feedback being held hostage.

NetworkBankAdmin
NetworkBankAdmin

This is neither better nor worse than the current system. The negative feedback argument goes both ways. As a seller, I've received negative feedback from a deadbeat buyer and I have to make a claim to Ebay and it's just a big bureaucratic mess I'd rather not deal with. An automatic feedback /criteria based system would be the only move that's a step in the right direction. Sellers agree to certain criteria prior to posting auction. (shipped X days from closing, answer questions within X hours, etc..) If seller meets criteria, positive feedback is applied to account. If they don't, negative feedback is applied. It's simpler for buyers, if they pay within required criteria.. then they receive positive feedback. The threat of Ebay removing a buyer isn't close to a deterrent for buyers. It's not hard to create another ebay account....

W.E.
W.E.

As most have pointed out, about all I can do as a buyer is pay promptly. I should receive feedback based on this. We see sellers that have 10,000+ feedback and if you look closely they also have 24 negatives in the last month. I've checked the buyers on those negatives, and they are the ones that left a negative first. Bad service, bad product, etc. I can't count the number of e-mails I receive from sellers that say "we will leave you feedback when you leave it for us". Why? I've paid you. I want to know what the sellers TRUE reputation is. The sellers with hundreds and thousands of feedback know that Ebays "percentage" numbers reflect little about them when receiving a negative, but the poor buyer with 20-50 feedback knows their rating will tank on only one or two negatives.

Eynog
Eynog

It would be nice, since Paypal is owned by eBay, if there was something in place that automatically put into your feedback the date/time of the auctions end, and the date/time that payment is made. Then the seller is out of the picture, and only if there are problems between seller/buyer would negative feedback come into play. Even if the date/time stamps held no feedback value, at least the eBay world would know when you paid for the item you won.

Joe TAS
Joe TAS

I have had that "we will leave you feedback when you leave it for us" quite a few times. I usually buy stuff using the "buy now" feature and paid instantly only to have sellers take three weeks to send stuff without replying to my emails. If sellers feel that the changes are too drastic, how about a "Buy Now, Feedback Now" policy for sellers. As many buyers have expressed what do you sellers have to fear if you ship on time, send the goods as advertised and honor the warranty/return policy as listed, the buyer had done their part by paying you up front.

The Cars Forever
The Cars Forever

I am a semi-regular seller on eBay and have had a number of times that buyers have threatened negative feedback if I don't give in to their demands. The demands have varied from shipping rebates, sending items not in the auction to refunds while they keep the item. There is a mechanism to report feedback extortion but it does not remove negative feedback when the claim is proven. While not real common - a half dozen or so times out of 1200+ auctions for me - this is something that is already stilted in the favor of the buyer and accounts for 4 of my 5 negative feedbacks. I have seen a much more unreasonable series of buyers in the past year as well. With concise ads clearly stating the item, condition and shipping less than 5% find something to be unhappy about though they rarely leave negative feedback. With 95%+ pleased with the items and service they get and often e-mailing such in addition to leaving positive feedback, it is less likely a flaw in my ads and more a change in buyer expectations. Even being less than 1 in 20 buyers, these folks eat up more time and effort than all the other happy buyers combined. All in all, with no balance for the unreasonable buyer - just like the unreasonable seller - the trend of eBay being an unfriendly place to do business will continue. I agree that the buyer needs protection, but not at the expense of the seller without whom there will be no buyers. Maybe having PayPal claims against the seller that are lost count on their feedback would encourage sellers to be more fair?

dkitts
dkitts

I use eBay to sell guitars and guitar related equipment from time to time. Musicial instruments are prone to have very subjective reviews. I will not appreciate not having the check and balance of being able to defend myself if a buyer leaves me unfair feedback. Buyers will have NO incentive to leave positive feedback at all. Recently very few leave feedback anymore. Matter of fact it will probably be the last straw for eBay and I'll quit using it all together. Craiglist is easier, cheaper and allows good face to face accountability.

walterhtx
walterhtx

It is about time that eBay had the buyer's back! I have recently encountered the exact same scenario described in this article. When I make a purchase on eBay, I always pay immediately - this transaction was no exception. The seller took over two weeks to ship the item and provided no shipping/tracking information until after I left negative feedback for him (two and half weeks after the date of purchase). So, predictably, he retaliates by leaving negative feedback for me claiming that I was just impatient. Call me kooky, but if I render payment immediately - I don't think that it is too much to ask for the seller to, at the least, acknowledge the transaction within 3 business days. What if I had taken two and a half weeks to pay him?

ggriffin
ggriffin

Why not hold one party's feedback until the other party has also left their feedback (or until the feedback window expires), then make both sets of feedback available simultaneously. That avoids buyer feedback being "kept hostage", but allows good and bad buyers and sellers to be flagged appropriately. Might take a little more coding than simply switching off feedback for sellers but I really cant see that being a major hurdle for Ebay. G

Litehouse
Litehouse

I think that idea is pretty good.

schwartz.nicole
schwartz.nicole

As a seller i find the resolution process insufficient, buyers can more easily "get one over on me" just like in real life. if there were some more seller protection i think it might work.

llpurkey
llpurkey

As an avid ebayer, I've often complained that there truly is no recourse for a buyer when a seller isn't quite what they should be. I think sellers should be allowed to leave feedback but it should be required upon acceptance of payment. As a buyer, you've fulfilled your portion of the "contract" at that time. I don't like that sellers can hold your feedback "hostage" until you leave positive feedback for them regardless of the experience. That skews sellers feedback ratings and doesn't give a buyer an accurate account of that seller. I think the revamp is long overdue. Whether or not this is the definitive answer, we'll have to wait and see but definitely a step in the right direction.

tyron
tyron

As a regular buyer and occasional seller I agree totally with this change. In almost every case of my leaving negative for a seller I have received negative in retaliation, even when I have paid immediately. I have since resisted leaving negatives for bad sellers to avoid further damaging my own feedback record, which does I'm sure affect my sales when I make them - proof that the current system doesn't work because bad sellers often don't get the bad feedback they deserve!

panelshop
panelshop

I agree with your statements, I had a perfect score untill I left a neutral rateing for a modem purchase, the seller quoted details which were untrue. She gave me negative feedback and no recourse for me to fix it.