Written: 18th May 2008
I am writing this guide because I feel the new eBay rules regarding feedback started in May 2008 are very unreasonable to the vast majority of honest sellers whilst encouraging a few buyers to vent their natural anger too easily with the knowledge that the seller can do nothing.
THE NEW EBAY RULE, say that "Buyers will only be able to receive positive Feedback." That means that a buyer can leave negative or neutral feedback for a seller but a seller can only leave good or no feedback for the buyer.
- This change of rules means that from now on a buyer is guaranteed a 100% Good feedback, no matter what they have said or done, what use is that? The seller can no longer make a judgment about a buyer before trading with them.
- Buyers are now going to be demanding that a seller gives them good feedback just because they have placed an order and paid. Failure to comply could possibly result in bad feedback being left for the seller.
- It does nothing to help resolve problems between buyers and sellers. eBay has a duty to improve their current system & get involved here.
- It can unreasonably damage a good seller’s record thus making it difficult for other buyers to get a true picture of a seller.
- eBay should put a copy of any neutral or negative feedback given to a trader into the buyer’s own feedback area also allowing the trader’s response to be seen. This would stop a buyer from dishing out unreasonable comments just when they feel like it. This will help to redress the balance. If a buyer has a genuine complaint this will allow them to make it but the few buyers that wish to flame all & sundry will be deterred.
If you agree please don’t forget to vote YES at the bottom of the guide.
When I sell an item via eBay there are four steps to the successful completion of the sale.
- The buyer agrees to purchase having read carefully the description & the terms of trading, then within a reasonable period of time should pay the agreed amount in full. There is no reason for the seller to give feedback at this stage.
- The seller having offered a product, giving a true and fair description, must then pack the item carefully & dispatch without delay.
- The buyer having received the item should check that it is in tact, it is as described in the seller’s listing & if all is well leave the appropriate feedback, if not then to communicate with the seller their disappointment. If anything is wrong on either side then good communication by both parties should result in a satisfactory conclusion.
- The trader should then respond by leaving the appropriate feedback to signify that the transaction has been completed and both parties are happy. As far as I am concerned my duty as a good trader is not complete until I know the item has been received safely & the buyer is happy that the product meets the description, then is the time for me to leave feedback, not before.
Now I know that all traders are not reliable, caring, good at communication or honest but neither are all buyers good at these things. The feedback system up until now has been fair to both sides, yes if someone complains unreasonably then there will almost certainly be a retaliatory response from the trader or the buyer but surly this is where eBay should come in. If a buyer or seller receives or issues more than a very small percentage of bad or neutral feedback in a month or year then eBay should investigate and take steps to find out why and if necessary to deliver appropriate sanctions against the person or company concerned.
- WHAT IS FEEDBACK:
I believe that the feedback system is really about a judgment of the seller rather than the buyer, it always has been. If a seller makes an unreasonable comment about a buyer, in truth it makes very little difference to the buyer’s ability to use eBay, yes it will cause annoyance & offence. On the other hand a negative comment about a seller is a warning to the next buyer that this has not been a pleasant experience, this will possibly cause a loss of future business for the seller. This is the true power of feedback, so why upset the balance by denying the seller a right of reply?
I believe that you should give an honest view of the experience you have had with a seller and let the seller retaliate as much as he or she likes, the seller does more damage to themselves than you, as long as you don’t build up a reputation for leaving bad comments to all and sundry. Keep your feedback constructive, polite & fair.
I believe that you should use feedback in a professional way, a string of invective & personal comments reflects on your business more than the buyer. Misuse by the few has led to this unjust change of the rules. Spend your time improving your methods of trading & the bad feedback will not be an issue for your business.
How can eBay improve?
- I believe they should make it much easer for a complainant to contact them using their own language, not stereotyped pre-filled in forms.
- Any complaint should be given a case reference number & should be handled by one member of the eBay team. If necessary eBay could have a phone discussion with either or both parties.
- eBay should remove completely any unfair or unreasonable feedback after they have arbitrated.
- eBay may leave feedback of it’s own if the incident is considered to be worthy of an overall comment.
- eBay should increase the number of words allowed in the feedback by double allowing a proper response to any comments made.
Finally I accept that there are a number of bad traders as well as buyers giving out bad feedback to each other which is nothing short of spite and venom but someone venting their anger this way puts me and I am sure most sensible people off trading with them. It may be old fashioned but we all need to deal with each other in a polite, courteous & professional way. Come on eBay natural justice should give a right of reply.