eBay gets rid of negative/neutral feedback for buyers

This is not quite bento-related, but I know that a lot of readers buy bento supplies from eBay merchants, so this news may be of interest. eBay has made a number of changes to their feedback policies, but the most significant one for most people is that sellers can no longer leave negative or neutral Feedback for buyers. If you’ve ever bought anything from eBay or other auction type sites, you know that feedback is a critical part of the trust system, so this is quite a big change.

I’ve been buying things sporadically on eBay for more than 8 years, and earned 1 negative feedback during that time. It was a retaliatory feedback to a negative one I’d left for a seller who didn’t give me the total amount I needed to pay after several communications. (The seller claimed she ‘didn’t get the email’, which rather odd considering I had send all the communication via the eBay messaging system.) After that experience, I was wary of giving any negative or neutral feedback to less than stellar eBay merchants for fear of getting those retaliatory negatives. Since I’m not a heavy eBay buyer, the one negative really dragged down my overall rating for a while.

So in the sense that the possibility of earning retaliatory negative feedback has gone, it’s a good thing, and may have made eBay a much more buyer-friendly place. Since I’ve never been an eBay seller, only a buyer, it’s all good for me. I should say that my experiences with eBay sellers has been mostly positive, though I have had some issues with a couple of sellers. (Instead of giving them negative feedback though, I’ve avoided buying anything further from them.)

On the other hand, from the seller’s point of view this may be a very bad thing, though there are measures detailed for dealing with unpaying buyers and so on. The buyer forums are already up in arms (registration required) over the change in policies.

What do you think about this? Does this development make you more or less willing to buy bento supplies or anything else via eBay? If there are any eBay sellers reading this I’d love to hear their opinions too.

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Same thing happened

I basically stopped using e-bay after I got negged by a seller when after a ridiculous number of delays, they shipped me an item that was nothing like described. I complained, they ignored, I left feedback. Then they negged me saying I’d “never contacted them” about “any” problems, notwithstanding the dozen or so e-mails we sent back and forth when they wouldn’t ship.

Shortly after that I received an item I’d bought with a slip in it that said, “We will not give you a positive rating unless you give us a top rating! WE NEG ALL NEGGERS! Neutral feedback will also receive a neg!”

Those two incidents together convinced me e-bay was not a good place to be. It left a really bad taste in my mouth, and since at the time I was selling a fair bit on half.com (textbooks while in school), I quit buying because I was too wary of retaliatory feedback.

I’ve bought a couple times recently from Bento Obento (who’s awesome), but I hate that she’s on e-bay. And if I hadn’t become familiar with her from OUTSIDE e-bay and from recommendations off e-bay, I certainly never would have bought from her.

A bit neutral about the decision

I don’t really use the feature, and I generally don’t leave feedback. I haven’t to date had a problem with buying off ebay, and since I don’t plan on selling through them, I don’t worry. I suppose I haven’t gotten negged because I’ve never left any negs. Only really bad experience was from one seller who kept pestering me to leave feedback.

Though I guess it would be impossible, I think instead of removing it, the negs should be monitored by humans just to ensure it’s not a retaliation neg. Or have a system like in paypal where a case is made through paypal itself, but before any negative action is posted/taken, the seller is given a chance by paypal to correct it.

I’m not sure how to feel

I’m not sure how to feel about this. I really take rating into consideration when buying from users (not so much when selling to, so long as they pay me, I’m good). I definitely take negatives into consideration. I like to see what kind of past someone has had before I buy from them. I’ve only had a problem ONCE, and it was taken care of, but I like to avoid such things.

I both buy and sell on eBay,

I both buy and sell on eBay, but I’m not overly active on either side. I’ve never gotten a negative or neutral feedback, but I have gotten buyers who don’t leave feedback, and I feel uncomfortable about that as a seller. I’d rather get some communication about their purchase, positive or negative. Like Sile, I do look at people’s ratings and history as a buyer— it makes me feel more confident that the person is reputable and the item I want will be as represented.

It doesn’t bother me that they’ve done away with negative feedback, but what eBay should do is have a mechanism to complain about purchases if something goes wrong. (They may have this already in place, but I don’t know if it’s being actively touted in place of this new policy.)

You can complain about the

You can complain about the transaction by leaving negative feedback, as long as you’re the buyer. Only sellers are not allowed to leave negative or neutral feedback.

I used to buy infrequently

I used to buy infrequently on eBay but recieved several retaliatory negative feedbacks. (In one case, the book, whihc was described as “nearly new condition” arrived stinking of cigarette smoke and had ink and highlighter marks all over in. In another, the seller charged me $20 for shipping on an item that weighed hardly more than an ounce, shipped inside my country, regular ground transport) It got to the point where sellers didn’t want to deal with me because of the retaliatory negative fb.

In my limited experience with ebay, sellers are much more likely to give groundless negative fb than buyers are, because they are far more concerned with having a high percentage of positive fb, so I think this is a good move.

I have been a buyer and

I have been a buyer and seller on eBay for ten years, and I’d say I do both in equal amounts. I’m a conscientious seller. I take tons of photos for my listings, I am very careful about item descriptions, my shipping prices are fair, I answer email fast, I ship quickly, and I always mail out tracking numbers and follow-ups. I don’t take returns since I’m not running a business, but if the buyer is polite to me I try to work something out with them. In spite of all this, at least one-third of my buyers in each round threaten or harrass me for some reason or another. Half of those who threaten me demand some kind of refund but refuse to ship the item back to me.

I am angry that eBay took away my ability to leave negative feedback for people who behave in this way. I also think it’s unfair that I can’t leave a negative for someone who refused to pay due to buyer’s remorse (I get at least one of these every round, with the buyer admitting they just decided they didn’t want the item anymore), especially if they’re rude about it.

I wish there were some way to get rid of the possibility for undeserved retaliatory negatives, but I don’t think taking negatives away from sellers is the answer. There is NO recourse for a buyer who goes bananas on a seller anymore, and it happens all the time. At least non-paying bidders can still get kicked off if they get too many NPB strikes. :/

It’s been a LOOOONG time

It’s been a LOOOONG time since I sold on eBay, but the one time I was harrassed by a buyer claiming that my item was misrepresented (it wasn’t), they refused to ship the item back, and threatened to leave me negative feedback. Such an action is called “Feedback extortion” and IS against eBay’s policies. In those cases, you should get in contact with eBay’s policy enforcers and send them copies of all your communications with the buyer.

Once I reported the buyer, eBay took it over from there, and it was resolved in a day. It was something they had been reported for before and they actually had their account revoked. Just because you can’t leave negative feedback doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself.

Only Bought Once

I only bought something on E-bay one time and it wasn’t bad. My husband buys there frequently, though he often complains about the sellers’ PayPal ONLY option. I despise PayPal. If you READ THROUGH THE TERMS OF SERVICE it basically says, in well hidden and flowery terms, that “PayPal reserves the right to screw you unmercifully via your bank account when PayPal feels like it. Good luck contacting someone to help you - you’ll need it.” I know several people who have missed major bill payments and RENT because they lost money by ‘accident’ and had to spend weeks, sometimes close to months, getting it back.
We only buy with Money Orders, and just take the waiting time. It’s safer.

Like many other people,

Like many other people, I’ve received retalitory negative feedback and/or been afraid to leave neutral/negative feedback. I hate that many sellers wouldn’t leave feedback until the buyer did. Um, my part of the bargain is done. Did I pay on time, and I was polite in communications? And of course, a lot of sellers don’t even bother leaving feedback, which is fine I guess (though there are other sellers who refuse to sell to someone with under x amount of positive feedback, which is similarly sucky). I think this new policy is fantatic (and I say that as someone who has sold a bit as well). An alternative policy would be to not allow sellers to leave feedback once the buyer has.

I rarely buy through Ebay

I rarely buy through Ebay but I did buy some bento supplies through them within the past few months and I do look at the buyer feedback. It does influence whether I waste my time with that buyer. I think people who do as some here have reported with the whole holding the feedback hostage should have some kind of recourse like a special dept within Ebay who handles that. But that’s obviously not going to happen.

Luckily many people have blogs and if they’re going to take away your right to leave feedback, then you can always post about your experience on your blog. I review things from stays in rental homes to restaurants and I would consider an unpleasant Ebay experience no different.

Similar experience..

I’ve also been left retaliatory feedback from a seller who I’d given neutral feedback to for a poor item that was not as described. I’d noticed that the seller gave poor feedback for buyers who’d taken isue with his service but I felt compelled to warn future buyers about both the poor item and his hostile communications (again, he claimed not to have received messages sent via the eBay service and only agreed to refund after I’d initiated a formal complaint through eBay).

I also sell occasionally on eBay, and once a buyer pays, I pretty much feel that they’ve fulfilled their part of the bargain, but many sellers seem to hold feedback for buyers ‘hostage’ until they receive their own feedback. Generally, I think the changes will enable buyers to leave more honest feedback which should make feedback a better tool for the buyers community. Well done eBay!

As a buyer, I refuse to

As a buyer, I refuse to leave feedback for any seller that does not leave feedback once I’ve paid. As you say, I’ve fulfilled my part of the bargain and I don’t like being held hostage for a “positive or else.”

Kudos to eBay!

OK, you’ve struck a personal nerve for me here. Please excuse me while I vent. I’ve been using eBay for less than 6 mos. to purchase unique bento supplies that I’m unable to find in my local area. To my great dismay, one of my earliest purchases resulted in retalitory negative feedback.

This negative feedback was both unprofessional and entirely unfounded and here’s why: I bid on several items and issued immediate payment upon receipt of the invoice for combined shipping. The items I subsequently received from the seller were not the items I had purchased and I sent the seller communication regarding the error. The seller immediately acknowledged her error and promised a full refund. However, I never heard from the seller again. After the seller failed to respond to several attempts at communication, I opened a PayPal dispute. A refund was then issued, still without any further communication with me. I then left feedback briefly and objectively (no name calling or judgements) detailing my experience so other potential buyers could be aware. In return I received retalitory feedback identifying me as an “unfair” buyer warning other sellers to “beware”. WTF!!! I was livid! How can bidding and issuing immediate payment be considered “unfair” buying behavior? I had done nothing wrong and received a negative rating. This experience nearly led me to stop using eBay altogether as it very adversely affected my feedback score since I had made so few purchases at that time.

After further research on eBay, I learned that retalitory feedback is common and is a phenomenon that eBay is fully aware of. As a buyer, I found this to be entirely ridiculous. How could I confidently leave honest feedback regarding a negative experience without fearing retaliation from a seller? And if buyers are afraid to leave honest feedback then what is the point? I now limit my purchases to well established, reputable sellers after having reviewed their buyer feedback. I admit that had I done so with the seller in question I probably would have avoided the fiasco that insued, but I was new to eBay and viewed the feedback system in good faith. I think this is definitely a step in the right direction and should make the feedback profiles a more useful tool for buyers. Sellers are still able to report non-payment from buyers and IMHO, payment is the single obligation the buyer has to the seller and should be the only metric on which a negative rating can be based.

Just my 2 cents. I personally welcome this change and applaud eBay for finally addressing this troubling issue.

Happy with the change

Honestly, I had to think about this for a little while, but I am happy with the change. The transaction experience should be rated by the buyer and NOT the seller…who often does hold the feedback ransom for all the reasons aforementioned. I’ve had it done to me before by an absolute lunatic. We pretty much ended on a stalemate with neither one of us providing any feedback for each other. There were others whom I felt were ridiculous in their shipping charges or other little items, but I never said so because they always left feedback after I would input mine (which is clearly not how it’s supposed to be done in the ideal situation to begin with). But back to my original point. Customer satisfaction should be left for the buyer to review and display. Any payment discrepancies or non-payment should be taken up with ebay or Paypal with safeguards in place and severe consequences issued for repeat offenders. Non-payment is a breach of contract and should be handled as such and not with a letter of disatisfaction or a flurry of he said/she said. Separating the two isn’t a perfect situation (some slimeballs will have to be dealt with) but is a better one than what was previously in place.

ehh...ebay isn't the same

Ebay isn’t the same place it used to be. I’ve been buying and selling on ebay for 10 years now and it’s not the same beast it used to be. I’m not happy w/ the change about the buyers’ feedback, but i sort of think the whole feedback thing has been warped into something rather than what it should be used for. I think they need to focus on keeping the FRAUD down rather than focusing on this mundane stuff. The fraud on ebay has gotten out of control and it’s ruining ebay for everyone. I wish yahoo auctions was still around. They used to be WAY better than ebay, until they started charging more than ebay for their auctions. :D

interestingly, in Japan

interestingly, in Japan it’s eBay that lost out (and closed shop) to Yahoo! Auctions and a couple of other sites. Yahoo! Auctions is thriving there.

Too much "power" to the buyer

I’m primarily a buyer on eBay, but I do sell things now and then. I’ve only had 1 bad experience with selling something, but I appreciated the fact that I could leave honest feedback about someone who never paid, which warns other sellers. But I am also a seller who leaves feedback as soon as I ship the item. To me, my end of the deal ends there. I do appreciate when a buyer leaves feedback after they receive the item. I also leave feedback for items I receive as a buyer soon after I make sure everything is good (and 99.99% of the time, it is!).

But now? I don’t feel comfortable selling things on eBay. I haven’t put anything up for sale since the policies changed. After 8 years on eBay, I’m selling on Craigslist only now.

I like the change

I’ve both bought and sold on eBay and I have been held ‘ransom’ by retaliatory sellers, where even a neutral will have them frothing at the mouth and leaving horrible feedback towards me (and I tend to be the type to pay within hours of winning).

As a seller I have several options open to me regarding non-payment, psycho customers and having eBay negotiate negative feedback based on both sides of the story. As my products (as a seller) are very cut and dry, I’m not too worried about this policy change. I simply use the USPS with a tracking number and INSIST on a signature. (learned once the hard way).

I honestly like this new change, but I’m sure this will be tweaked until most buyers and sellers are happy and then and other, more drastic changes will be made. It just seems to be the nature of the beast, as they say

Not hostage feedback

I am a seller and buyer on ebay. More a seller, though I’m definitely not a “high numbers” seller.

The removal of negative feedback for sellers to leave buyers has left sellers at the mercy of ‘bad buyers’. Not that a lot of buyers are like this, but a few are. In my auctions, I try to be as detailed as I can about my items, even the flaws I perceive (on the used items). If I find a flaw after the item is purchased, I contact the buyer immediately in order make sure they still want the item or if they want a refund.

For me (and I do state this on my auction pages and in my first post-purchase email to my buyers), the transaction in my opinion is not complete until feedback is left. I don’t leave feedback until I receive feedback. This isn’t so I can retaliate if I get a neutral or negative. This is to make sure that buyers don’t leave a negative or neutral based on a misunderstanding or something that could be easily fixed. If I accidently didn’t list a flaw, I want the buyer to contact me so I can correct the situation rather than having them leave a neg or neutral feedback. (Of course, buyer’s remorse after the item is sent is not acceptable, so I’m very clear on my auction page what I will refund money for and that the refund does not get sent until the item is received in the same condition it was sent in). I like to make sure my customers are happy with their purchases. I’ve followed up with customers, just to make sure they are satisfied. This is especially important when it comes to those who didn’t leave feedback. But I never demand feedback.

I’ve only had two buyers that I would have left negative feedback for. One didn’t read the auction page and was angry with their purchase. The other demanded lower shipping cost and that the item be sent before payment cleared after they won the item. This person is also a seller on ebay and states on her auction and bio page that she doesn’t accept that sort of thing from her buyer. Hypocritical? In the end, I worked with her, but also banned her from future purchases. (It’s been a couple years and she’s now selling the item, but is lying about how often it’s been used in the description. Go figure.) I do make it clear that if a person does not pay for the item they purchased (without contacting me so I can offer the item to the second highest bidder) or that they try to strong arm me (as the two above tried), then they are banned from future purchases.

I don’t know how rare this is in sellers, but I know that I try to go out of my way for my customers. I just hate that now the ground is even less level when it comes to dealing with problem buyers.

(I’ve been avoiding selling on ebay since the feedback change, though I might put a few things up. Like a number of other sellers, I’ve started looking at other auction and selling sites because of a number of the recent changes and the constant changes to the fees.)

for those have not noted new way of calculating feedback on ebay

hello,

i am from southamerica and my bussiness i sell on ebay because south american economy is not that stroing to make fast money like eBay advantages do, i have getting problems with negative feedbacks because my buyers are ignoring my handling charges i have to pay but worst than that is noting a neutral feedback counts as negative one, it´s not like before you was a not countable deal, now it´s and it´s a negative for you sellers, for that reason ebay removed too neutrals from your list, and this is really sucks and painfull see your rating bellow 98% just because someone was pleaseant but not totally on your ebay deal, so bad if ihad another way to sell my stuff with a larger audience than eBay i will do, but that´s not really to easy to do from here. anyway, i will expect a new day. thanks, ej

This is a shortsighted move

This is a shortsighted move by Ebay IMHO, because sellers will soon find other sites like Etsy that are willing to treat them better. Sellers are already pretty frustrated with them because of hidden fees and booby traps everywhere. While I understand that retaliatory negative feedback from sellers is a big problem, they should just adopt the simple measure of only revealing feedback ratings after both participants have submitted feedback.

Re: eBay gets rid of negative/neutral feedback for buyers

I don't buy or sell on eBay often, but I was on it way back when sellers left feedback AS SOON AS buyers paid. Somehow, over time, that changed. I got very annoyed when I had to leave feedback (as a buyer), FIRST. That's just not fair. Once I've paid you, I've done my job.

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