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I am hoping that this little guide will help new e-bayers to understand feedback and how to use it. As a seller that has traded here for ten years, and that has been slapped with, on occasion (and more times than I am happy with) negative feedback that I don't consider fair by new users, I would like to try and re-define feedback in more user-friendly terms and hope that somewhere, somehow it helps.

As we all know, feedback has three grades. Positive, neutral and negative. Positive can be wonderful to recieve, and negative feedback can be very damning and in some cases, spell the end of your business and your livelihood, if used incorrectly.

I won't waste your time by explaining Positive feedback. We all know what it is for. I am instead going to explain the use of Negative.

Negative feedback should only be used if your overall experience with a seller has been bad: for example: if the seller has not produced the goods, does not communicate with you, is rude and has no idea of the meaning of the word 'service', or alternatively, if a buyer has confirmed a sale, does not pay and does not communicate with you. It is also used if the item you recieve is not as described...if they have failed to mention certain things that affect the quality of the item, like if the software is a copy, or if something is damaged.

I have experienced cases where people have felt that something is not as described, and immeadiately, a negative feedback is given. My question here is: how do you know that I won't try to rectify any unhappiness you are feeling if you don't talk to me? I am still a person sitting here behind this monitor, with many emotional capabilities, one of them being understanding. An understanding that even though we trade on a cyber floor, people are still people and still at the mercy of something called 'life' (and Royal Mail).

What I am trying to say is that sometimes things don't work out as planned. You cannot always get the best idea of what the product is all about unless the seller has taken pains to describe it properly. Buyers sometimes just hit the buy button, and don't bother asking questions first. None of this process is perfect by design, and everyone seems to forget that.

Now, I do realise that some e-bayers are sharks. Some people will run off with your money or waste your time...and then be rude to you in the bargain. But please remember, that a few are not the standard example of what others are like. Don't tar us all with the same brush. Every buyer and seller needs to be treated as an individual in their own right, and you should start from scratch in your opinion of each one, from the minute you decide to start the process, be it buying or selling. Treat your buyer or your seller as you would like to be treated yourself...believe me, you cannot go wrong.

People are people. We all get sick, we all have emergencies that take us away from our monitors, we even go on holiday occasionally. Some of us work two jobs, and also have a family to raise. These are very real reasons why sometimes things don't work out as planned. Just apologise and get on with it. Nothing is lost until one person loses their temper.

Communication. It sounds like an idea that the job-worths have made up, but there is excellent advice there. When people talk, and listen, no-one is fighting. Trust is another stickler. Once we have had one bad experience, we have a hard time trusting the next person. It is only human nature. But don't forget that not everyone is the same.

Lastly, in doing what we do here on e-bay, you are never going to escape the odd bad experience. Ten years on here has taught me this. (And again, the Royal Mail sometimes really doesn't help!) but remember one last little nugget: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. I have managed to talk around the most irate of customers, and have seen them walk away placated in the end...and guess what? I have recieved a positive feedback from some of the most extraordinarily bad transactions that have gone horribly, horribly wrong. All because I learnt not to fly off the handle at the first annoyed e-mail that I was sent.

So, at the end of it all, even if you did not end up with what you wanted in the first place, if your buyer or seller has listened to you and you have worked out a still means positive feedback is due. However, if the person you are dealing with has truly pushed you to the limit in every way, hit them with a negative by all means.

Happy e-baying, folks.

Miz Quixotica   


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