Buying Personal Items or Gifts and Maintaining Privacy

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Important Considerations for eBay users looking to buy personal items or gifts on eBay.

There is often much said about keeping your feedback private, and doubtless many choose to do so to avoid negative or embarrassing comments that might affect their trustworthiness if known. However, there are other good reasons why buyers in particular may wish to make their feedback "private", which has nothing to do with adverse comments from other users...

If you wish to buy attractively-priced goods on eBay, for example - herbal remedies for personal medical conditions or gifts for birthdays (etc), it is understandable that you may wish to preserve confidentiality from friends, relatives, and associates. However, the feedback system, whilst holding considerable merit for buyers and sellers alike, threatens your transaction privacy and should be carefully considered on such occasions. Generally the issue is that all positive and negative feedback (received and sent) under your profile will include links to the full item description for three calendar months after the auction has ended, whereafter only the worded feedback and rating will appear.

Regrettably the eBay system does not provide users with the means to accept or reject positive feedback - though in ALL cases negative feedback is entirely fair and reasonable and should rightfully be displayed in all cases.

Understandably, making your feedback private means that you are only entitled to buy goods (not sell them), and as detailed item descriptions will remain in your feedback listing for three whole calendar months then your ability to sell items will be barred for at-least this period (although you might choose to remove the "private" option at any time to "reveal all" before the three months has elapsed).

Therefore, should for any reason you wish to purchase goods and don't want the items you bought or the prices you paid to be publicly visible from your eBay profile, I would suggest that you consider the following...

1.  Email the seller BEFORE placing your bid, informing them that you do not wish to receive feedback for the purchase of their goods and ask for their confirmation to ensure that you can expect your request to be honoured. Do this by separate Email through the "Contact this seller" link on the relevant auction page, and NOT via the "message to seller" box in PayPal as I have found that such messages frequently get overlooked.

2.  When contacting the seller in (1) above, ask them whether they would be prepared to accept no feedback from yourself, as looking at your profile and selecting "Feedback left for others" will also reveal descriptions and full item details. Again, do this BEFORE placing your bid, as by default all buyers and sellers have the right to expect feedback unless first agreed to the contrary.

3.  Some sellers use advanced selling features, including automated feedback mechanisms. Again, you might ask the seller if they exclusively use this feature for their feedback. Doing so is likely to actually improve your chances of inadvertently receiving feedback due to manual oversight or error.


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