How To Get & Retain 100% Positive Feedback Or Maybe Not

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How To Get & Retain 100% Positive Feedback - Or Maybe Not!
A guide to getting and retaining a perfect feedback score on eBay. We do not recommend all, or even most, of these suggestions, but they are worth thinking about.
We have split this guide into five main sections, 1 Buyers, 2 Sellers, 3 General, 4 Recommendations, 5 Our Practice.

As a Buyer
As a buyer, pay quickly.
As a buyer, do remember to state your eBay ID and item number. You would be astounded at how many cheques arrive with no clue what the payment is for. Some buyers expect sellers to  be psychic mind-readers, or perhaps think they are the sellers only customer.
Only buy, don't sell. As a buyer, you can take your time, and check out your seller, choosing somebody good, who does not give nasty feedback. As a seller, it is harder to select your buyers. Any lunatic can bid on your items, then change their mind, or give you a negative because you don't take PayPal when they had assumed you did, or criticise the size of a diamond clearly stated as 0.01 carats measuring 1.3 mms.
Get multiple accounts, and get each one to sell a low priced item to you. This is against eBay's stated policy, but it does seem to turn a blind eye. On forums, there are many people who openly state that they have more than one account.
Get family and friends to do the same. This is also against eBay's policy, although they do want you to get friends to join!
Buy lots of super-cheap items, perhaps £0.01 each, from other members aiming to raise their own feedback levels. This may include crooks and scammers, but do you care?
As a buyer, wait until the seller has given you positive feedback before giving him negative, that way he can't do much about it. It's easier for buyers to do this, as many sellers give feedback as soon as they receive payment, and this is before they have posted, or they buyer has received the goods.
Chase sellers up to remind them to give you positive feedback.

As a Seller
If you sell, only post within your own country. This way you don't have to know worldwide postage and insurance rates and rules. You will also avoid many Nigerian, Chinese, and Indonesian fraudsters trying to pay with stolen credit cards etc. You will also avoid many language barriers and interpretation problems.
If you sell, only post by insured mail such as Royal Mail Special Delivery. Don't give your buyer a choice of uninsured, otherwise if the item gets lost, even if you have proof of posting, he may give you an unjust negative, making it your fault not his.
As a seller, wait until your buyer's check had cleared before leaving positive feedback, in case it bounces, or gets stopped, otherwise you may give some crook positive feedback, and he may even have the gall to give you negative for some dubious reason, for no reason at all, or just because he feels like it.
If selling, set a minimum feedback level below which you disallow any bids. This will stop the newbie who doesn't know his eBay etiquette yet. It will also stop or discourage some start-up card fraudsters.
Get multiple accounts, and get each one to buy a low priced item from you. This is against eBay's stated policy, but it does seem to turn a blind eye. On forums, there are many people who openly state that they have more than one account.
Get family and friends to do the same. This is also against eBay's policy, although they do want you to get friends to join!
As a seller, post the item out as soon as you receive payment. Of course, this risks the cheque bouncing, the credit card being stolen or fraudulent, or being subject to charge-back, in which case you will lose money. This also applies to PayPal which is not as safe as eBay claim. Some rogue buyers may even stop or bounce their cheque as soon as they receive the item.
As a seller, accept any and all payment methods. This might cost you an extra 10% or more, but it will give buyers less to complain about. This will probably limit you to selling only low intrinsic value, high profit margin items. People who buy this type of item may well be too afraid of appearing stupid to bother complaining.
Sell only items of similar price, that way you can keep your postage and insurance rates simple. The more choice you give some buyers, the more likely they are to make the wrong choice, then blame you if it goes wrong.
Offer a money back guarantee, even if, or perhaps especially if, your items are fake or crap, and negotiate a positive feedback as a condition of your making a refund. It's probably unfair, but we have noticed a lot of what appear to be part-time or backstreet dealers doing exactly that.
Sell lots of super-cheap items, perhaps £0.01 each, so other members can "buy" them and raise their own feedback levels. This will include crooks and scammers, but do you care?
If you get a semi-literate question, especially from a foreigner, or you get any bad vibes about a buyer, block him from bidding immediately before he can do any damage. Not all lunatics are in the asylum!
Only give positive feedback after the buyer has done the same for you.
Chase buyers up to remind them to give you positive feedback.
Be organised, so that you know exactly who has bought what, whether and when they paid. Chase up slow payers politely but persistently. This adds a lot of work, but it is necessary, as otherwise many buyers will forget to pay, and you will be out of pocket because of the eBay fees.
Try to answer all e-mails, even if the answer is already clearly and unambiguously stated on the item listing, or your "About Me" page, no matter how illiterate or illogical they seem. This might mean staying awake 24/7, or employing a Bombay answer-centre, and may outweigh the sales revenue.
Answer your telephone 24/7, in case buyers have any more questions.

General
Don't leave negative feedback for others, as some people will automatically give you a tit-for-tat negative.
If you receive a negative, give a tit-for-tat one in return. Then try negotiate mutually withdrawn feedback.
If you receive a negative, first ask eBay to remove it. They will automatically remove any by members who are no longer registered. If this fails, you can write to eBay alleging the comment is libellous or defamatory. This will need to be countersigned by a solicitor, Justice of the Peace, or similar, and will probably cost, but eBay are unlikely to contest it in case you sue them for permitting and facilitating the libel.
Wait until the other party gives you positive feedback before returning the compliment. Of course, if everybody did this, no positive feedback would ever get given as everybody would be waiting for the other guy's first.
Have enough  time and money to sue anybody who gives you unfair negative feedback, or libellous remarks in the comments field.
Find a libel lawyer who will act on a no-win, no-fee basis. He could make a fortune, and may share the proceeds with you. Any interested lawyers, please contact us!

Recommendations
We do not actually recommend most of the above suggestions. Obviously there are some which we do recommend, such as for buyers to pay promptly.
Some of the suggestions are slightly tongue-in-cheek, but there are people out there using them.
Let your own conscience be your guide when choosing your feedback acquisition policy.
Be aware that there are many crooks, scammers, and idiots out there using some or all of these techniques. This is actually, in our opinion, the most important thing in this guide to remember.
Perhaps a successful policy would be to do as we say, not as we do!
Which leads us to...


Our Own Policy
We do very few of the above, and certainly none of the shady or dodgy ones. In most cases, we do the complete opposite of what we have listed, For example, we normally give positive feedback as soon as we receive payment (sometimes cheques bounce), but it simplifies our systems.
We never chase or remind people to leave us feedback, leaving it to their own memory, conscience and goodwill. We could probably increase our "score" if we did, but this would consume staff time which we feel could be put to better use processing orders and enquiries.
We give negative feedback where we are certain it is deserved even when we strongly suspect we will receive an unfair tit-for-tat negative as a reprisal
We sell many high value, low margin items. We also sell items at a wide range of prices, from under £1 to over £50,000.
We impose no minimum feedback levels on buyers, and we accept bids from worldwide.
For many items, we offer a choice of insured or uninsured shipping.
We believe our 40+ years of professional mail-order service, and our existing reputation in the "real" world to be more important than our eBay feedback, and are realistic enough to know that there are a small proportion of undesirables who can never be satisfied. In the non-eBay side of our business (about 97% of our total), we are happy to avoid awkward customers and professional complainers.
We refuse to accept PayPal, even though eBay try to ram it down everybody's throat. We only accept credit cards reluctantly, and with written signed instruction, to counter fraud. This is unpopular with fraudsters.
We still take it very personally when we receive any negative feedback.

Author & Copyright Notice
Any images shown are our own copyright images. Our text and description is also copyright, Lawrence Chard of Chard Coins.

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