eBay Feedback System – What’s the Point?

When eBay began, they had a real feedback system. It was a two way street. Buyers let other buyers know when they had a good or bad experience with a seller, and sellers let other sellers know who to avoid.  It was very helpful to all.

But a couple of years ago, eBay changed the rules.  Now all buyers are perfect – 100% feedback.  How could they be anything but perfect – eBay stopped allowing sellers to give buyers anything but positive feedback.  Deadbeat – no problem – you bid and don’t want to pay – you’re fabulous.  It takes you 2 weeks to pay – way to go!  eBay says that if a buyer doesn’t pay,  the seller can wait a designated length of time and file a non payment (we do want to get our fees back from eBay!).  If they still don’t pay, well eBay will put a strike against their account.  Dare to ask eBay what that strike actually means, they tell you they can’t discuss any buyers account with you.  Now hard working sellers have no clue when a deadbeat actually does bid on their auctions, so all buyers are PEREFECT!

A seller can put a restriction on their auctions that prohibits buyers with varying numbers of strikes from bidding on their auctions – and we do that.  However, we invariably get those emails from potential buyers who are flummoxed why they can’t bid on one of our auctions.  They write and tell us that they have 100% positive feedback and are great – why can’t they bid.  Oh yes, they did have one teeny weeny problem a long time ago with a terrible seller, but please don’t hold this against them.   Then the questions arises – should I or shouldn’t I let them bid?  Well, I can’t just open the auction to one person with strikes, I have to allow anyone with strkes to bid.  It was much easier with feedbacks – then I could see what really happened and if the seller really was a louse, or the buyer is a pain in the neck (and we would add that buyer to a block bidders list – very helpful).

We recently sold a glass paperweight that had a tiny chip.  We mentioned the chip.  We photographed the chip. The item sold for about 1/5 of its real value (did we mention the chip?).  Well, the buyer received the item and you know what?  There was a chip!  Really?  Well, thinking it must have broken in transit, and since it was fully insured, we asked for a photo of the damage.  The buyer begrudgingly sent a photo and gee, it looked exactly like the chip in the photo in our auction.  We asked if there were shards of glass in the packaging and somehow the packaging has already been thrown out (maybe this person can come and clean my house – we don’t throw away the garbage in 2 minutes).  After a few emails back and forth, we agreed to take the  paperweight back (even though we have a No Refund Policy, unless item is not as described – but more on that another time).

A month and half passes and we never received the paperweight.  One day we get an email asking for our address.  I wrote back and asked why she never sent the item back when I told her I would accept it.  Boom!  A negative feedback! She then proceeds to tell me that she was in a major accident and blah, blah, blah (I have heard this one before).  I checked out her feedbacks, and in the last 30 days she left 5 other sellers negative feedbacks (and many more before that).  I immediately called eBay and asked them what they were going to do about this abuse.  They told me they would look into it and if they took any action against this buyer, I would see my negative removed in 72 hours.

Well, its been about 2 weeks now.  The negative is still there.  And did I mention, the paperweight has still not been returned.

When we ask eBay about this policy, they say it is only the buyers responsibility to pay.  So why do so many buyers ask me to leave them feedback?  Should I just write “They paid me”?  Yes, there are some very nice buyers out there and some real pains – the problem is, we never know until after the sale – it would be nice to weed out those potential problems before they arise and a real feedback system would absolutely be helpful.  The one eBay has now is a joke.

Published in: on May 24, 2010 at 8:43 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yes, we will not leave feedback for buyers anymore. I agree, whats the point. Its just feedback padding!

    We once had a similar story. We once sold an original vintage kit kat clock. We found at a yard sale missing the clock. The title of our auction was Vintage Kit Kat Clock Minus Tail. We explained in the description it had no tail! We sold it, again for less than mint value with a tail, and immediately got an email kindly asking if we forgot to include the tail. And yes, we got a negative after asking the buyer to READ the auction description!

    Another BIG problem on ebay is the seller can do no wrong! We recently sold a camera lens that CLEARLY stated it was for the older Minolta MD mount cameras of yesteryear. As a retired “old school” pro photographer, that also once owned a camera store that specialized in used equipment, the one thing I know is older cameras. I CLEARLY stated it was for the older cameras only and if you were not sure to ask! Well this buyer purchased it for a newer digital camera other than Minolta and never asked in advance if it would work on his camera. Of course without even asking if he can return it, he files a SNAD. Now I am not only forced to a refund, but I also lose the initial shipping cost. For the buyers mistake!

    My feelings about ebay these days is a seller does not have a chance! Certainly not a fair chance! I don’t mind fixing my own mistakes, but to pay for the buyers mistake and still survive on ebay? I don’t think so!

    If I sold new products, yes, I can build some loss into my prices. Since I sell mostly one of a kind (ooak) items, I either have to charge my consignors even more to make up for ebay’s faults against sellers, or I have to eat those losses.

    I am more than positive as the CEO of ebay goes home to his million dollar house in his fine luxury automobile, he could care less about the common seller that supports his lifestyle!

    What a shame!

  2. Correction to my post above: Another BIG problem on ebay is the seller can do no wrong!

    SHOULD READ: Another BIG problem on ebay is the BUYER can do no wrong! Thanx, Michael

    • Michael, How are you, are you keeping up with our blog. I am still waiting for an article from you about the consignment store that we can post. Who, knows, one day you may be quoted in our “future” book. Keep in touch. Richie

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