I thought that I would write a guide regarding feedback as this subject seems to crop up on a regular basis on the eBay forums.
If you are new to eBay a quick way to build up some feedback is to buy some low value items for example keyrings or some cheap baby clothes,etc.
It does help to have some feedback if you are selling and I usually avoid buying from sellers with zero feedback!
Some sellers will not allow buyers with less than 10 feedback to bid on their auctions and will cancel the bid.
If it states this on their listing and it is an item that you really want then contact the seller via the email the seller link on their auction and ask them if it is ok with them if you can bid or not.
After all there is no harm in asking and nothing ventured is nothing gained.
As a buyer I always leave feedback first as it lets the seller know that I have received the item and I am happy with the service that they provide.
I also send a message to the seller too just to thank them and let them know that my item has arrived safely.
If I wasn't happy then I would contact the seller first before leaving a neutral or a negative.
Good communication with a seller (or buyer) can resolve most issues without having to resort to leaving neutral or negative feedback.
You need to be calm when you leave feedback and should be done at the end of the transaction when both buyer and seller are happy with the full transaction.
As a seller if you do receive a negative then don't panic as you can leave a factual follow up to it (like what I did for reference) at a later date.
The first negative is the worst and you can do everything you possible can to help a buyer out and still get one.
At the end of the day you have to remember that it is a little red dot and I still buy from sellers with a few negatives (but only once I have read their feedback).
How do you avoid getting negative feedback?
Simply be totally honest in your description in your listing and be prepared to accept a return and refund the buyer if an item is faulty.
Please see my other guides which you may find helpful.
As a seller I leave feedback once a buyer has left it for me so I know that they have received their item and are happy with the service that I provide.
Some sellers leave feedback after a buyer has left feedback to protect themselves from scammers, as after all it is no good leaving positive feedback first for a buyer only to find out you have been ripped off!!!
What would happen if a seller leaves a buyer feedback as soon as they have paid and then the item goes missing in the post?
The first that the seller would know about the problem is when the buyer leaves them a negative which is pretty harsh if the buyer never contacted the seller to let them know that it hadn't turned up.
Another example is for something that I bought from a seller that didn't arrive.
I contacted the seller and they stated that it was posted the next day after payment.
I left it a few more days and then started an item not received dispute.
The seller gave a refund and the dispute was closed.
I left positive feedback stating that it had gone missing and so did they.
Six weeks later the item turns up and was dated just as the seller said!
Now if I had been hasty and left a neutral or negative because it hadn't turned up then that would have been the wrong thing to do and I'd be feeling pretty foolish.
Needless to say the seller was contacted and payment re-made via Paypal and a follow up done to the feedback that I had originally left them.
I hope that one day eBay will make it compulsary as it prides iself on the feedback system, but I doubt that this will ever happen .
Non paying bidders can only leave feedback if they reply to the non paying dispute,which in my opinion is wrong and if the buyer doesn't pay then they should lose the right to leave feedback!
I think that the new feedback 2.0 system (or detailed sellers ratings as it is now called) is a good idea as you can see at a glance whether the seller is good at communicating, overcharges on postage or not, misleads in the item description and whether they post your item to you quickly or package your purchase well or not.
Lower sellers ratings mean that your items are lower down the search results when buyers are searching for a certain item.
If the seller has a high amount of mutually withdrawn feedback then it would be best to read through their feedback first before bidding.
The same goes for any seller with 90% feedback or less.
Check through their negative and neutral feedback first as a few minutes of your time could save you from being possibly ripped off!!!
Also check the sellers response (ie follow up comment) to negative or neutral feedback that a buyer has left as if they are rude you know to avoid them and buy from a different seller.
If you are still unsure then ask the seller a question and the majority of sellers are willing to help you and answer your question.
If the seller doesn't respond to your question within 48 hours then they don't want your money!
So look elsewhere.
If you don't first win an auction then don't worry as usually there are more of the same items listed at some point (providing it isn't something very rare).
Don't get caught up with 'bidding fever' and bid more than you really should!
Set yourself a 'bidding' limit and stick to it!
It is very daunting when you first start out on ebay and some forget those first new purchases or sales many moons ago when they first started on eBay.
I have learnt so much from the ebay question and answer forum and have heard good advice, heard bad advice, agreements, disagreements, laughed, cried and groaned with other ebay members .
The community questions and answers forum is recommended to everyone especially to those fairly new to eBay and if you are unsure where it is then there is a link to it on my 'me' page.
It can also be found at the top right hand corner of your ebay summary page by clicking on 'community'.
The new feedback 2.0 (DSR's) doesn't affect a sellers feedback rating though it could affect their sales if buyers are unhappy with the service that they provide and the seller has low ratings.
This is just a guide and there will be buyers and sellers that will disagree.
Please remember that feedback is purely voluntary.
The more votes I receive the more inclined I am to spend my valuable free time writing more eBay Guides and Reviews for you.
If you have less than 5 feedback unfortunately you won't be able to vote (Sorry eBay rules and not mine!)
*** IMPORTANT UPDATE APRIL 2008 ***
From May 2008 sellers will no longer be able to leave neutral or negative feedback.
This is being done to stop sellers giving bad retaliatory feedback to buyers.
How ebay plan to deal with NPB's (non paying bidders) in regards to leaving negative feedback to warn others still remains unclear although BBL's (blocked bidders list) has now increased from 1,000 to 5,000.
*** OCT 2012 UPDATE ***
I wish eBay would allow sellers to leave negative feedback for non paying bidders but only after a non payment dispute has been closed & whether the buyer has or hasn't responded to it.
Buyers who fail to pay for an item should lose their right to leave feedback too!
Non payment strikes are invisible but red dots for non payers aren't!
I mentioned 3.5 years ago in my last update about how do eBay plan to deal with non paying bidders.
Answer = Nothing!
On another note buyers should be blocked from leaving negative feedback until they have contacted the seller first via eBay messages and therefore giving a seller chance to resolve whatever the problem may be!
Too many buyers are quick to leave negative feedback for sellers that sometimes don't always deserve them! (I have written a guide about this too).
*** MAY 2014 UPDATE ***
I contacted a buyer today to check that everything was ok as he hadn't left feedback.
He said that he hadn't left it as I hadn't left feedback for him first.
Sorry but if a buyer doesn't leave feedback then I don't leave it for them it is a simple as that.
There is no way on earth that I will leave feedback first as it would be rewarding bad buyers who choose to leave neutral or negative feedback without contacting me and trying to resolve whatever the issue is!
As I have said before: "As a seller I leave feedback once a buyer has left it for me so I know that they have received their item and are happy with the service that I provide."
95% of buyers don't even send me a message to say that they have received their purchase!
As a buyer I always leave feedback first (providing that there isn't a problem & if there is I will contact the seller).
All sellers are different and some will leave feedback first and some will only leave it after a buyer had done so.
Please remember that at the end of the day feedback is voluntary.