eBay Bans Negative Feedback For Buyers; Everyone Be Good Now

from the here-in-lake-wobegone... dept

eBay has been making some changes lately that aren't sitting well with eBay sellers. First, it announced fee changes that initially were promoted as "lower fees," but the details showed were only lower for goods that didn't sell. The fees on sold goods were actually higher. Now, the company has banned sellers from giving "negative" feedback on buyers. This is quite an interesting move. Years back, eBay was often held up as the epitome of user feedback/rating systems. However, over the years, problems have cropped up, leading to questions about how effective the system really is, as it's often been gamed. A specific complaint is that many buyers are afraid to leave negative feedback, as a seller can retaliate and provide a similarly negative response to the buyers. The hope, then, is that by not allowing negative feedback, buyers can start being more honest about sellers. Of course, from the sellers' standpoint, it also means it's much more likely that buyers can now be problematic, without worrying about a response. eBay claims that it will now personally handle complaints from sellers about problem buyers -- which seems like a pretty big undertaking for the company. Either way, there does seem to be something silly in having a company offer a feedback system if you can only say positive things.

Filed Under: bans, feedback, negative feedback
Companies: ebay


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  1. identicon
    dturnersan, 6 Feb 2008 @ 6:21am

    eBay fees and feedback changes

    eBay fee changes are an increase for me. I resent the news stories that are promoting the fee changes as decreases. Did eBay write those stories themselves?

    As for the feedback changes, they are the death knell for eBay as far as this 10 year veteran is concerned. I am one of the small old timer sellers who specializes in the cool, unique, collectible, hard to find stuff, and I will be out of here in short order.

    I've been hearing more and more reports of buyers leaving neutral or negative feedbacks for sellers or threatening to do so. Same people are shocked when the feedback they leave is reciprocated by the seller. Apparently many people think the feedback policy change is already in effect and don't realize it won't be until May. Then they threaten to report the seller to eBay because "seller's aren't allowed to leave neutrals or negatives anymore".

    2/3's of my activity is as a buyer. I have never withheld feedback from a seller after I got the goods and was pleased with it. I have never threatened a buyer with a negative when they had an issue. I have always accepted returns from anyone dissatisfied. However the unspoken threat of receiving a possible bad feedback has probably held some nuisance buyers in check.

    I truly believe that most people are good, honest folks who just want to buy or sell a widget. However there is that annoying small percentage of both buyers and sellers who can make your life miserable.

    I keep track of my auction stats so I know this much. I have about a 4% NPB rate. Overall on eBay is 10%. In addition I have about a 2% PITA buyer rate, folks who cannot be pleased no matter how hard you try, or don't read or understand the auction description, or want to change my TOS, or renegotiate shipping costs post auction end etc. Only their reluctance to receive a negative has kept those people in check.

    I figure anyone who sells on eBay in the future will be receiving negatives on a minimum of 6% of their transactions. In addition, if the seller doesn't immediately leave positive feedback for their buyers as soon as they pay, those sellers can expect to get negged by a lot of buyers for that as well. If the seller files NPB against a slow paying buyer they can expect a neg too. yet eBay is encouraging sellers to file such complaints.

    Up until now anything less than a 98% positive feedback rating was considered pretty sketchy. What will the new "good seller" percentage be? I am betting it will fall to around 90%. How comfortable will that make buyers about shopping on eBay?

    I really think eBay did not fully think through all the ramifications of these feedback changes. I do not see it as being positive for either individual sellers or for eBay as a whole.

    So 60 days prior to the May change in policy is my cut off for selling on eBay. I don't feel comfortable selling in an environment where I can be unfairly chastised with a negative feedback without having much recourse. I've worked too hard with excellent customer service to achieve my 10 year good feedback record to allow any passing newby to chuck a rock at it.

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