Monday, January 28, 2008

eBay Sellers Can No Longer Leave Negative or Neutral Feedback: Come on People!

OK, wow. I don't always blog about the eBay News right away, but this one I could not pass up. I couldn't believe it when I read it: nestled cozily among eBay's various fee changes (some of which I think are a good idea), was this little gem:

"Sellers may only leave positive feedback for buyers (at the seller's option)."

Wow again. OK, I really try to be fair and objective when writing about eBay. I am not only an ebay seller, but a frequent buyer, and a shareholder. So I understand they are running a business and want to succeed. And they see the buyer experience as bad now, or in need of fixing.

But this? To quote Bill Cosby, Come on, people.

I do need to think this one through more...but right now my gut reaction is that this is way overboard.  To not let sellers, the people who are the backbone of eBay's business, who provide the cake inside the icing that is eBay's framework, have a say in feedback is just unfair.

I'll paste the details of the feedback part of the announcement below, in case you want to read it. I know they're concerned about retaliatory feedback. But I'm not sure this is the way to solve it. I'm going to think about that one.

But this way, I feel that buyers (not all buyers of course, most of mine are great, but in any group you get a few problematic people) will essentially be able to hijack sellers into jumping through all kinds of hoops, and will in some cases leave negatives that are way undeserved.

Here's just one example of how this could play out: a Buyer asks a seller to sell something at auction to him right away. "Can you put a buy it now on this?" Seller says no; they want it to run its course in the auction.

Buyer then promptly goes and bids on something else the seller is offering..maybe something cheap. The threat of a negative now hangs over the seller's head. And maybe it gets left for some reason.

What reason? Who cares? Feedbacks are inherently subjective and buyers could make up any reason.

"Package smelled bad.." Neg.  "Slow shipping." (Let's say they bought media mail and don't know it takes up to 10 days or more).  Neg.  "I don't like your packing peanuts." Neg.

OK, well, as I said, I need to think this through more. Maybe I need to live with the news system to really make up my mind. But most likely the almighty dollar will decide this anyway. If sellers leave eBay in droves, I think they'd rethink it. If they grumble, then go about their business and most of them stay on eBay, it will probably remain.

Details from the announcement about feedback below. Meantime, I'd love to hear what you think! Post a comment here if you have an opinion.


"I know this is a huge change, but we're also putting into place
protections that sellers have wanted for years. In addition to holding
buyers accountable via non-public seller reporting tools, such as
Unpaid Item reports, we are planning a number of other Seller
Protections against inaccurate feedback:


  • We will remove, not just de-score, negative and neutral feedback when a buyer doesn't respond to the Unpaid Item process

  • We will remove all negative and neutral feedback and comments when a buyer (or seller) is suspended. We
    will also do this retroactively ? which means any negatives and
    neutrals you've received from members we've ever suspended will be

  • For sellers with an established track record, we'll prevent negative and neutral feedback within 3 days of listing end to promote communication.

  • We're going to reduce the number of days a member can leave feedback from 90 to 60 days.

  • We'll increase block bidder list capacity from 1,000 to 5,000 user IDs.

  • We'll increase our monitoring, and take action based on seller reports of buyers behaving very badly.

  • Feedback percentage will be based on the last 12 months,
    although the total count remains lifetime. This means that any negative
    or neutral feedback left for you more than 12 months ago will no longer
    affect your percent positive.

For more details, please see our information page."

Repeat Feedback Credit..." [I am not posting the bit about repeat Feedback credit here; pls. see eBay's announcement if you want to read about that.]


  1. Boy, I want t know who's Knee-Jerk decision it was to make these changes. The system is not perfect, but, each side has a �Fair And Balanced�
    chance to leave feedback for the other.It works both ways. I have bought a couple music CDs from eBaY seller jomar (No Longer A Registered User, Hmm???), and paid for them within an hour of the auction ending. When I received them they were "CDRs" Recorded by him/her and being sold as new in the listing. I did the appropriate
    thing and left negative feedback to alert other buyers to this fact. I was left retaliatory negative feedback by the seller Jomar along with some cockamamie story about me and a buddy trying to scam him/her, My reply was "I'm not the one ripping people off by selling them CD-Rs as original CDs" I STILL have this neg feedback because even after MULTIPLE attempts on my part to make the "thick-skulls" at eBaY understand, they still don't and refuse to remove this inappropriate feedback.
    I also currently have a buyer supercoop3406 who has won an item from me in an auction which ended May 4, 2008.
    I have sent several invoices and have received absolutely no contact from this person. Even if they do eventually pay, what-the-heck, who wants to be strung-out for 2 weeks or more with no contact on a transaction?? This is a classic case of a "Deadbeat Bidder" as I like to call them. THIS PERSON DESERVES "NEGATIVE FEEDBACK" FOR THIS TRANSACTION, AND, NOW THANKS TO EBAY I AM UNABLE TO LEAVE IT FOR THEM.

  2. Stu Thomas, you are right on. I just had an auction end and the person never paid for the item and ignored all communication. I am pissed and now I have to relist the item. And there is now way for me to give this deadbeat a negative fb. Wow ebay new policy sucks monkey balls!

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