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eBay Eliminates Negative Feedback for Sellers

By - Source: Tom's Guide | B 24 comments

The day has finally come where eBay sellers can no longer leave negative or neutral feedback for buyers, while buyers can continue to leave whatever feedback is warranted for the seller.

eBay originally announced this plan in January and set off a flood of negative criticism from sellers and talks of boycott began swirling. Sellers expressed that the new rules unfairly gave buyers more power and negates free speech. While eBay does recognize that the new policy will raise red flags for some sellers, the end results will improve the overall eBay experience.

"We’ve heard some complaints [from sellers], and we’ll probably hear some even louder complaints [after the changes go live], but we believe that the overall marketplace will be better and healthier for it," said Brian Burke, eBay director of global feedback policy. “The goal is to hold buyers accountable in the marketplace and to hold sellers accountable in the marketplace.”

eBay originally stated the reason for the change was that the previous system prevented buyers from leaving honest feedback since they feared retaliation from sellers, if a negative comment was left. "What we discovered through research was that any negative feedback that the buyer gets reduces their purchasing or willingness to purchase within the marketplace," said Burke.

Some believe this tactic was implemented to help create a buyer’s environment to help boost traffic to the auction site due to recent lack luster numbers. Whatever the case may be the auction site will try its best in filtering unscrupulous buyers leaving negative feedback by penalizing or banning the buyers from the auction site. However, it may not be enough to swing sellers back, as many are beginning to find alternatives.

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  • -4 Hide
    bittoe , May 20, 2008 2:18 AM
    That has been my beef for a while. I have a perfect buyer (and seller) rating. I bought a motorcycle helmet from a "power" seller, paid that day and when I received the item it was in its original retail box, rattling around loose with no cushion or padding, not even newspaper. The box was never meant to be shipped. Thankfully the item arrived undamaged, but rather than leave negative feedback (considering I paid extra for shipping AND handling) for fear of retaliation, I left none.

    This has been a long time coming. I am glad for it.
  • 1 Hide
    bittoe , May 20, 2008 2:21 AM
    That has been my beef for a while. I have a perfect buyer (and seller) rating. I bought a motorcycle helmet from a "power" seller, paid that day and when I received the item it was in its original retail box, rattling around loose with no cushion or padding, not even newspaper. The box was never meant to be shipped. Thankfully the item arrived undamaged, but rather than leave negative feedback (considering I paid extra for shipping AND handling) for fear of retaliation, I left none.

    This has been a long time coming. I am glad for it.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2008 2:46 AM
    I quit buying stuff on eBay years ago because of this. What I disliked about the system most was eBay would refuse to intervene when the seller blatantly lied and said I was a slow payer after I complained that they had not sent me what I ordered (I had payed the moment I won the auction). I could prove the seller was lying because of the paypal receipt, but when I e-mailed ebay the only thing that was noted was that we could both withdraw our feedback. Half the reason I will no longer use eBay is because of the way they handled the situation.
  • 2 Hide
    stoneysilence , May 20, 2008 3:19 AM
    I hate this change. I gave sellers bad feedback all the time if they deserved it. I didn't care what they gave me. Never once had somebody give me bad feedback because I left them bad feedback. This was just a change to help ebay sell more. I mean they even say that in the article:
    "any negative feedback that the buyer gets reduces their purchasing or willingness to purchase within the marketplace"

    It's all about increasing money for ebay, nothing else.
  • 1 Hide
    christian summer , May 20, 2008 3:40 AM
    ebay sucks...paypal sucks...i refuse to use either because they could care less about the reality of any auction situation...after they make their commission off of sales they never intervene to fix anything...

    on top of that...to set up a registered paypal account you used to have to register a bank account which became the default payment method which would eliminate the buyers option contesting the payment with credit card companies...why because each time a payment is canceled ebay loses the commission...

    i hope ebay/paypal/skype etc falls apart...

    -c
  • 0 Hide
    christian summer , May 20, 2008 3:40 AM
    damn this comment system sucks...glad to see that i am not the only person that falls prey to this horrible comment system...

    -c
  • 0 Hide
    christian summer , May 20, 2008 3:42 AM
    ebay sucks...paypal sucks...i refuse to use either because they could care less about the reality of any auction situation...after they make their commission off of sales they never intervene to fix anything...

    on top of that...to set up a registered paypal account you used to have to register a bank account which became the default payment method which would eliminate the buyers option contesting the payment with credit card companies...why because each time a payment is canceled ebay loses the commission...

    i hope ebay/paypal/skype etc falls apart...

    -c
  • 1 Hide
    mr roboto , May 20, 2008 5:22 AM
    I'm tired of EBay and their whole way of doing things period. It's another prime example of a company getting too big to function in a capacity that I can accept. I stopped using EBay and Paypal all together a while back. EBay and Paypal are almost like the same company. Watch in a few years Paypal will be the only method of payment allowed.
  • 0 Hide
    Orpheous , May 20, 2008 5:54 AM
    I'm in Australia, we're a little limited for alternatives to evilBay over here, but since their recent Feedback changes and the upcoming compulsory Paypal payment acceptance for sellers, I've noticed that Oztion (Australian auction site) has risen dramatically in popularity!

    Does anyone else know of decent, preferably worldwide alternatives to eBay?
  • 3 Hide
    humalong , May 20, 2008 1:31 PM
    ebay was ruined years ago when the 'e-store sellers' flooded the market with junk products and inflated shipping prices. in my opinion you're better off throwing your money in the trash than bidding on eBay. craigslist.org is the way to go!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2008 1:52 PM
    Why not have a waiting period where neither side can see what feedback was left and if someone leaves unwarranted negative feedback they can take it up with eBay (although I can't see that happening very often, I don't know what anyone would have to gain by it but a lot of eBay hassle.) There, I just solved your 10 year old problem eBay. Wow, why can't real life be that easy?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2008 2:00 PM
    I am now boycotting EBAY!
  • 1 Hide
    spinnerdoctor , May 20, 2008 2:39 PM
    BOYCOTT EBAY NOW - THEIR SAGGING PROFIT MARGIN IS ALL THEY CARE ABOUT !! When my current auctions expire this Sunday, I will take a vacation from further listing on EBAY. As an 8-year seller, I have found increasing problems with deadbeat bidders. Now it seems the inmates are running the asylum !! Can any company have their collective heads further up their ass than EBAY ?? THIS IS AMERICA NOT NAZI GERMANY !! Just like I've had to put up with revenge negative feedback from deadbeats, bidders have been getting my justified comments when they don't honor their bids. That is only fair !! I have no faith that EBAY will reverse negative feedback
    even if it falls under their new misguided "guidelines". They can't even send you a real e-mail response (only canned idiot chatter). They know they cannot police these deadbeats, many of whom get kicked off and re-register under a new ID with exact same name (and frequently same e-mail) as before!! A 1st grader could do a better monitoring job.

    The real reason this is being done is because EBAY has to refund the
    Final Value Fee (their commission when YOU sell an item) if a seller files a Non-Pay Dispute against a deadbeat. THEY KNOW THE AMOUNTS they're refunding - but they want these commissions - they don't want to refund them. What's a seller to do? File a dispute and risk negative feedback (however unwarranted)??

    BOYCOTT EBAY - I'M GOING TO VISIT "THE AMAZON" !! Let's see how their bottom line survives when bidders have no merchandise to "buy"!!
  • 1 Hide
    rsud , May 20, 2008 5:44 PM
    After a little thought I think e-bay is doing the right thing. In the brick and mortar retail world the seller has no recourse if a buyer does a return or is upset. Should be no different on e-bay. I also received negative feedback as a buyer as retaliation. This makes no sense as the retailor mantra is and needs to continue to be "the customer is always right". Ebay can police bad customers (frequent negative reviewers of sellers) seperately just like credit card companies do today when they see excessive returns on a credit card.
  • -1 Hide
    gm0n3y , May 20, 2008 7:18 PM
    I work with (not for) eBay every day for my job and this change sort of makes sense. I was involved with some of the complaints when this was first announces months ago and most of the sellers agree that buyer feedback was useless. They see it from the other side where buyers will threaten them with negative feedback unless they leave them positive first. The whole system was broken and this would fix it.

    The problem that sellers are now having is that there still is buyer feedback, its just only positive. So now a buyer can still threaten a seller with negative feedback unless they leave the buyer positive feedback AND the seller can't leave legitimate negative feedback. So in some ways this is worse than the old system. They need to scrap buyer feedback entirely.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2008 7:31 PM
    IT's ABOUT TIME!! As a BUYER, I'm SICK AND TIRED of my good feedback being held HOSTAGE to an unscrupulous SELLER!! In my experience, the ONLY OBLIGATION a BUYER HAS is to PAY PROMPTLY! Having done that he/she should get STELLAR feedback! What REALLY HAPPENS? SELLERS WAIT TO SEE HOW THE BUYER RATES THEM, THEN LEAVES EQUIVALENT FEEDBACK! I'm surprised it took Ebay THIS long to figure it out! BRAVO EBAY!! IT'S ABOUT TIME!! Here's hoping EX-Ebay seller SnowyWhite reads this!!
  • 0 Hide
    Orpheous , May 20, 2008 10:48 PM
    Re: Mr. Roboto
    "Watch in a few years Paypal will be the only method of payment allowed."
    It's happening in June here in Australia... And I'm sure it won't be long until it's enforced worldwide.
    taken from: http://www2.ebay.com/aw/au/200804.shtml#2008-04-10105658
    10 April 2008 | 11:05AM EST


    "We're making it safer for all our members to trade on eBay.com.au. To ensure members use only the most secure payment methods, it will soon be required to offer PayPal on all listings on eBay.com.au.

    When will this occur?
    Changes will be introduced in two stages:

    1. All items listed for sale on eBay.com.au on or after 21 May 2008 must offer PayPal as one of the payment methods.

    2. All items appearing on eBay.com.au as of 17 June 2008 must be paid for using one of the following:

    1. PayPal
    2. Pay on pick up (i.e. paid for when picking up the item)
    3. Visa/MasterCard (with transactions processed by PayPal).

    No other payment methods will be permitted. "

    So in effect, they're limiting the options, at least here in Australia for now, to ONLY accept Paypal payments!
    In case you weren't aware, Paypal is owned by eBay:
    Troy Wolverton (2002-10-03). It's official: eBay weds PayPal. CNet.
    http://www.news.com/Its-official-eBay-weds-PayPal/2100-1017_3-960658.html

    So eBay is double dipping, once with their listing fee, and again with their Paypal transaction percentage. That's not counting the profit that they make from international currency exchange.

    A seller that I know very well recently received a negative feedback for an "incorrect shipping and handling fee" from an idiot buyer. The amount charged for S&H was LESS than the value of the stamps on the package, and, the item was carefully padded and packed at no charge. Under the new system, the seller has no other option than to open a dispute with eBay in an attempt to get the seller to mutually agree to withdraw feedback. My friend tried this, the buyer IS an idiot, it wasn't withdrawn.

    I can understand eBay's intention to turn their auction site into a buyers market, but if they continue to mistreat their sellers, how long will it take before the sellers jump ship and their is nothing left to buy?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2008 10:53 PM
    Yes, there are some evil buyers and sellers out there ready to snap at the least provocation. FeeBay makes the rules to suit their bottom line. Between FeeBay fees and PayPal percentages the Seller is getting his/her blood sucked right out of the blood bank. Along with these new rules FeeBay should have given Sellers a few incentives to stick around, afterall they get paid no matter how bad market is. When my tools are gone I am done with FEEBAY!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2008 10:54 PM
    Sellers Unite!!!! If a nutcase buyer gives you a negative feedback, you can always leave negative remarks even though you can ONLY check the Positive box. I can't imagine FeeBay has the time to read every comment. Good luck to us all.....
  • 1 Hide
    Orpheous , May 20, 2008 11:28 PM
    So, theoretically, a buyer could attain and retain a positive feedback of 100% over say, 500 small, relatively inexpensive purchases. If that buyer then becomes a rogue seller, and lists say 5 expensive items, does some very dodgy deals and rips off 5 buyers, he could still have 99% positive feedback!
    eBay sellers AND buyers, with questionable ethics and IQ levels need to be weeded out and the feedback rating system SHOULD assist in this process to truly make it a safer sales environment for everyone.

    Their recent statements are nothing short of BS to fool the sheeple into thinking that they actually care. I hate monopoly...
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