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eBay to Drop Negative Feedback on Buyers 505

Posted by Zonk
from the didn't-like-the-kvetching dept.
Trip Ericson writes "ArsTechnica is reporting that eBay plans to drop negative feedback on buyers. It's just one of a number of changes eBay will be making in the near future. 'eBay's data shows that sellers are eight times more likely to retaliate in kind against negative feedback, a figure that has grown dramatically over the years. In an attempt to mollify sellers, eBay will initiate a handful of seller protections to offset the inability to speak ill of a buyer. Negative and neutral feedback will be removed if a buyer bails on a transaction or if the buyer has his or her account suspended. Buyers will have less time to leave feedback, and won't be able to do so until three days after the auction ends. eBay is also pledging to step up monitoring and enforcement of its policies around buyers who behave very badly.'"
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eBay to Drop Negative Feedback on Buyers

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  • Ob (Score:2, Funny)

    I wish 2 feedback an eBay, plz send codes.
  • Simple Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gotung (571984) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:26AM (#22332972)
    Keep both parties feedback hidden, until both have left feedback. Zero chance for retaliation. Problem solved.
    • Perfect Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PackMan97 (244419) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:35AM (#22333068) Homepage
      I couldn't agree more.

      There are times where I've wanted to leave negative or neutral feedback, but won't because I know I'll get retaliated and the negative feedback hurts me a lot more than it hurts a power seller with 10,000 transactions.

      It seems standard practice these days that a seller won't even leave feedback until they see what you've written.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by esocid (946821)

        It seems standard practice these days that a seller won't even leave feedback until they see what you've written.

        I would definitely vouch for that. In my eyes the seller's only business with leaving you feedback is how you payed for the item. Was it timely, was it the correct amount, etc? I've argued with a seller about not leaving feedback for a purchase, and refused to leave any for them until mine was received. Needless to say, I still don't have any from that seller.
        But I agree 100% with the parent ab

        • by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:36AM (#22334012) Homepage

          I would definitely vouch for that. In my eyes the seller's only business with leaving you feedback is how you payed for the item. Was it timely, was it the correct amount, etc?

          I disagree. I mostly a buyer through ebay, although I do have the occasional sale, and the deal isn't done until the buyer says the deal is done.

          The seller has the money. But only the buyer knows that the money has been paid and the item arrived and there wasn't any damage in transit and the description was accurate to the buyer's satisfaction and...

          In my eyes the seller's only business with leaving you feedback is how you payed for the item.

          What if the buyer complains the item isn't new, when the auction clearly stated it was used? What if the buyer claims the item never arrived, when the seller has a tracking number from the shipping service saying it was delivered? Especially given the way PayPal operates outside the normal banking system and credit card charges can be disputed, even if the seller thinks payment is in hand, the deal isn't really done until the buyer says the deal is done.

          As a buyer, I don't expect the seller to leave feedback until I provide feedback indicating the transaction is complete. As a seller, I don't leave feedback until the buyer does the same.

          That said, I have tempered my feedback in the past knowing the other party can retaliate. I agree 100% with you agreeing 100% with the parent. Keep feedback hidden until both parties leave feedback (or some period of time has passed, so if one party suspects he will get negative feedback, he can't just not leave feedback to keep the other feedback hidden forever.)

      • by jwietelmann (1220240) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:04AM (#22333492)

        The GP's solution allows bad sellers to avoid negative feedback by simply not posting any feedback themselves. To prevent that, eBay should also, after a period of time, display any feedback left by either party and disallow anymore feedback for the transaction.

        Also, just so we're clear, neither party's feedback should figure into the other party's overall rating until that feedback is displayed. It doesn't take a genius to figure out who left negative feedback about you when your rating falls.

    • I'm not sure it would work. So many buyers/sellers just don't take the time to fill the short feedback form. What happens with your proposition when only one party leaves feedback?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by EllisDees (268037)
        Have a time limit of 60 days to leave feedback. If you haven't left any by that point, all feedback left will show up and you can't retaliate.

        Honestly, what the hell is Ebay thinking with these changes?
        • Have a time limit of 60 days to leave feedback. If you haven't left any by that point, all feedback left will show up and you can't retaliate.
          If I'm running bogus auctions to rake in money before anyone notices, this could give me an extra 80 days before new victims get any warning.
      • What happens with your proposition when only one party leaves feedback?
        The feedback gets posted as soon as the feedback-leaving window for the other party (60/90 days) closes.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bvimo (780026)
        >What happens with your proposition when only one party leaves feedback?

        Ebay waits for a period of time - 30 days - and then withdraws the feedback option, adds a comment that they didn't bother and publishes yours.
    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      You fool! You could have "con"sulted a cool half million out of them for that solution.

      Seriously, I can't see any flaw in it. There's no disincentive to leaving feedback, and as long as you continue to receive reminders as now, you're not any more likely to forget. I can't see the downside, which makes it rather bizarre that eBay seems to have gone the wrong way.

    • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:40AM (#22333160)
      It wouldn't work in that form. All a scammer seller would have to do is never leave feedback for his buyers, then they're negative feedbacks on him would forever remain hidden. It might work if there were some predetermined time limit at which both the feedbacks would become visible, even if one side were missing (and after which no feedback could be given).
    • by Plunky (929104)
      or make it unpossible for the seller to leave feedback until the buyer has.

      IMHO the seller ought to leave feedback as soon as they have received payment. I always do when I'm selling something, it seems fair.

    • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:47AM (#22333266) Homepage

      Keep both parties feedback hidden, until both have left feedback. Zero chance for retaliation. Problem solved.
      This is how it's done on MercadoLivre, the Brazilian auction site purchased by eBay some years ago (but for some reason not integrated into the eBay ecosystem): both the buyer and the seller have 'x' days to rate each other and write comments explaining the reason for the rating; neither can see the rating received before both rated each other (or the timer has run out if one preferred not to rate, at which case the rating is automatically set as "neutral"); once both can see each other granted ratings and comments, they both have 'y' days to write a reply to their respective ratings/comments, so that 3rd parties can judge based on the whole set of rating, comment and reply (if any). IMHO, it works fairly well.

      I don't know how the US version of eBay works, but if it really allows one side to see the other's rating/comment before requiring him to also rate/comment, it's utterly broken. For me, however, the proposed solution doesn't seem to make sense. Adopting MercadoLivre's system would have been better.
    • by smitty97 (995791) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:53AM (#22333360)
      Great idea! AAAAAA++++++++ ebayer! QUICK PAYMENT would do business again! A+A+A
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pentagram (40862)
        I don't know why positive feedback needs a comment anyway. All I'm interested in with a buyer/seller is the proportion of +ve transactions, and any -ve comments.

        100 pages of "AAAAAAAAA++++++A+A+A+==!@£ GR8 WOULD HAVE BUYERS BABIES" just serves to hide any negative comments. I'd rather just see a list of negative comments and the user's reaction to them. Last I checked, eBay wouldn't let you just view bad reactions, though they were thinking about it.
    • Re:Simple Solution (Score:4, Insightful)

      by The Cisco Kid (31490) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:56AM (#22333386)
      I've been thinking the exact same thing for some time.

      AS an ebay buyer, I don't leave feedback about shipping and accuracy of item until after the seller leaves feedback regarding my payment and communication. Often this leaves the transaction feedbackless, even if there was nothing wrong with it.

      Heck, when I use paypal to make payment five minutes after auction close or buyitnow, my positive feedback should damn near be automatic, since ebay owns paypal and has everything integrated anyway.

      Hiding feedback until both sides had entered it would work well. The other party could see that you had left feedback, but not wether it was +/- or what you said, until after they had entered theirs.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:26AM (#22332976)
    As someone who both sells and buys on ebay, I have to say this is a change I welcome. Most of the bad sellers out there use retalitory feedback as an essential part of their scam. I ran into one of these guys once who didn't ship the item until I started threatening him. When I looked deep into his feedback, it was clear this was his standard practice. But on the surface the guy looked golden, with little negative feedback. I finally got the item, but left him a neutral feedback to warn others. He responded with a retaliatory negative on me, and there was absolutely no way for me to respond to it (since they've apparently taken off the feedback feature they used to have that let you post an explanation). It still pisses me off to this day, as it's the only non-positive I have in almost 200 feedbacks.

    You can never really be sure about who you're buying from as long as sellers can hold this Sword of Damocles over buyers' heads. They need to at least put a time limit on sellers' window to leave negative feedback, so they can't still be holding it over a buyer's head long after the buyer has paid.

    I can understand why power sellers would be upset by this. But there are so many scammer sellers on ebay today, relative to just a few years ago, that something like this was probably necessary. The primary purpose of feedback is for buyers to judge the trustworthiness of the seller. And while it also lets a seller judge a buyer as well, this isn't nearly as important, IMHO.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SkankinMonkey (528381)
      A more interesting application they could have applied would have been to give buyers and sellers a 30 day window to leave feedback. Feedback left would stay off the record for this time period and then become magically available. This would encourage more truthful feedback and alleviate some of the fear of negative feedback from sellers issues.
      • by ftobin (48814) * on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:35AM (#22333070) Homepage

        Interesting idea, but you have to make sure that you account for a seller who builds up a good rating, and then "spends" his rating in 30 days, scamming buyers, who don't see the updated ratings until up to a month too late. One could work around this by making the rating anonymous during the 30-day period, though.

        • Anonymous would work for high volume sellers, but probably not for smaller ones. I'm not sure if high volume sellers are the main problem or not so I can't really say. What may be ideal is giving a buyer or seller 5 days or so to file feedback within the initial feedback filing (2 or 3 days after the auction) otherwise no feedback is listed. During that time they cannot see what feedback was left for them. There are many ways to address this and eBay may have simply taken a cheap way out is what I'm su
      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        30 days may actually be too long. Serial scammers will just need to plan their initial bogus positive transactions 30 days ahead (they already create their JoeNotAScammer23123 accounts well ahead of time), and they can come and go within a month.

        What's wrong with simply revealing both parties' feedback simultaneously, as soon as both of them have provided it?

    • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:21AM (#22333766)

      As someone who both sells and buys on ebay, I have to say this is a change I welcome. Most of the bad sellers out there use retalitory feedback as an essential part of their scam.
      And what about the good sellers? Do we no longer care about them?

      I made my living off eBay for 2 years and trust me when I say there are at least as many crooked buyers as there are sellers. Arguably more in fact because the way eBay is set up its easier to be a crooked buyer than a crooked seller. Yes, we left retaliatory feedback for buyers who gave us unjustified negative feedback. Nobody is perfect but there are way too many people who will try to screw sellers over if the sellers have no means of redress. Want to get something for free of eBay? Buy with PayPal and use the magic words "not as described". Send back an empty box (for proof of return) and PayPal will automatically give the money back. Happened to us multiple times. Oh, and "not as described" works for cases of buyers remorse too, even if it was completely accurately described and you have a no return policy. After all, eBay doesn't know and doesn't give a shit.

      In disclosure I'm quite bitter against eBay. They raise rates every six months like clockwork. Some of their (and especially PayPals) dispute resolution policies are insane. They screw honest sellers in a variety of ways (I'll enumerate if anyone's interested) and basically make it nearly impossible to make any money selling on eBay. Being a Power Seller is nearly worthless. We sold literally millions of dollars of products on eBay, they made hundreds of thousands of dollars on our work, had a 99.6% positive feedback and eBay treated us like garbage the whole time.

      Some folks have suggested that feedback not appear until both parties have left feedback. Not a bad idea but unlikely to be a panacea either. High volume sellers simply don't have time to leave honest and accurate feedback for every transaction. There just aren't enough hours in the day and the cost/benefit just doesn't justify spending the time. Plus I guarantee that some people will leave negative feedback no matter what (think "feedback trolls") without any redress if it is unjustified. At least until recently sellers could make a case that they were being unfairly treated.
  • Great change (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SkankinMonkey (528381) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:28AM (#22332984)
    I always hated leaving feedback because the sellers made you leave feedback first. This led to things occurring like, a seller not having items to ship and having to either refund you, or in many cases, send you a similar item without any notification. When you leave negative feedback (as you should) they'd leave negative feedback as well.

    If sellers are going to act like stores, then they should have customer service like one and be willing to suck up the bad comments like normal retailers do. Leaving negative feedback was a childish tit for tat response and actually discouraged me from leaving any feedback whatsoever for a long time.
  • Don't non-paying buyers deserve negative feedback? It sounds as if their plan would eliminate this type of feedback as a consequence. The solution I had always thought of would be to require that sellers, once prompt payment is received, post feedback before a buyer can leave feedback for them. Of course, this would create the same situation where a slow-paying buyer could leave retaliatory feedback for a neutral or negative piece of seller feedback, but I believe this would be much less prevalent than i
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There is already a way to report a non-paying bidder. If you go through that process and the buyer doesn't respond and show that they paid, then a mark goes against them on the account. Feedback is not needed for this.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Travoltus (110240) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:30AM (#22333016) Journal
    Why should a seller need to leave feedback EXCEPT when the customer doesn't pay or there is an unnecessary return (all of which can be factually documented)?

    Is there some kind of "Customer was a doodoohead" thing going on?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by macbuzz01 (1074795)
      I had a seller refuse to combine shipping after I had purchased two items. He said he would have if I had asked before purchasing. The package arrived with $1.00 of postage for which I had paid $12.00 I didn't think highly of this and left him two neutral feedbacks. He left me a negative and a neutral to "teach me a lesson". After a month of back and forth emails he agreed to remove the negative feedback, but never once thought he was in the wrong. This is the scenario where the feedback system falls ap
      • Charging $12 for $1 of shipping is perfectly legal, as it is $12 of "shipping and handling". You only paid $1 for the shipping, but $11 for the handling. You should complain about that to ebay and your local lawmaker, not the shipper.
        • Uh...no... (Score:3, Informative)

          by msauve (701917)
          it is not "eBay legal," except in very rare cases (such as a fragile item where there may be significant packaging cost).

          Sellers may charge reasonable shipping and handling fees to cover the costs for mailing, packaging, and handling the items they are selling...Sellers who want to be sure they are in compliance with this policy may charge actual shipping costs plus actual packaging materials cost (or less).

          In addition to the final listing price, sellers are permitted to charge:

          Actual Shipping cost:

  • by madsheep (984404) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:32AM (#22333034) Homepage
    I think it's obvious the data about the vindictive nature of many sellers may be accurate. However, being able to leave negative feedback for buyers is important and I think they need to find a way to make it work better. If you're selling a high priced item (or really any item for that matter) and you get some bozo that bids with no intention of paying, this can be pretty detrimental to a sale - especially if it's time sensitive (tickets, special event going on, motivated to sell, etc.). Sometimes these same people that are selling these items time sensitive or not, want to be able to look at their top bidders and know if they're serious. You might have a guy with 25 positive feedback, but when you see he has 35 feedback total with 10 negatives for not following through on his last 10 transactions, it's good to be able to cancel/block this guy.

    There are obviously some flaws with the system (human flaws right?), but there should be a good remedy to make this work a little better.
    • by EggyToast (858951) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:15AM (#22333666) Homepage
      I don't know if you use eBay for selling things, but you can't have a buyer that does that. A single non-paying charge ("Unpaid Item Claim") that goes unanswered will cause them to delete your account. If you have an excuse, you can maybe get 1 to slide, but 2?

      The vast majority of negatives towards buyers are retaliatory, since those who don't pay lose their accounts pretty quickly. And as long as a buyer has a feedback rating of 1, they're generally fine as a buyer. It's the sellers where people seriously evaluate the feedback and both having a huge amount of feedback and "fake" feedback that's not accurate is useless.
  • I don't leave negative feedback for sellers either. It just doesn't seem worth it. So the seller gets a negative feedback from me and his score goes from 99.99 to 99.98 positive, due to the sheer amount of feedback an active seller has. Then he leaves a negative feedback for me (tit-for-tat is standard practice), and my feedback score drops by one or two percent. Is that a good trade? Hell no! So I just leave a neutral if I'm really feeling vindictive. Sure you can argue that I would be helping others avoid
  • Good Change (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zulater (635326) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:33AM (#22333048)
    I've had issues with two sellers like this. One sent me a game without a CD key and then furnished me with the first quick google search for one. The other sent me an item that wasn't what I bought. Neither would return my emails until I left negative feedback and of course I got negative feedback and a withdrawal request the same day. The bad sellers were using negative feedback on a buyer to push for a withdrawal to keep their record clean. I have quit purchasing from ebay for other reasons but it is a good change.
  • by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux@ ... il.com minus cat> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:33AM (#22333050) Homepage Journal
    From my point of view, this is a good thing to remove negative feedback for buyers. My personal experience three years ago is when I gave a 'neutral' feedback to a seller that inflated the shipping price after the bid's closing, with no mention at all of the extra fees in the item description, that seller gave me my only negative feedback. I fought for a long while, and realized eBay support sucks and they're not really helping, and then, disgusted, stopped shopping on eBay except on rare occasions (prices are generally higher on eBay than elsewhere and the purchase is somehow riskier, but sometimes you find things hard to find anywhere else).

    It's hard to be a "bad buyer", either you pay the amount, either you don't. No?
  • Account suspension (Score:2, Interesting)

    by esocid (946821)
    So let me get this straight. If your account is suspended for any reason, any negative feedback you have or will leave will be removed? I think this is pretty ridiculous, speaking as an individual who had his account suspended FOR NO REASON. And from what I hear this is a pretty common occurrence. It does state

    Feedback removal due to member's suspension is permanent and will not be reinstated for any reason, except if the member was suspended by mistake.

    but how do they determine that. I complained about it

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:35AM (#22333064) Homepage Journal
    These days most sellers are using paypal so you don't have to "slow" buyers.
    A few years ago I bought a motherboard on EBay. I paid for insurance and waited. It never came we tried to contact the seller and nothing. We contacted paypal and they said that the seller claimed to have shipped it and we had waited too long. So I contacted my bank and they reversed the charge.
    All the time the seller protested that he had sent it. We mentioned that we did pay for it to be insured but that didn't seem to make any real difference.
    My wife wouldn't post negative feedback because when she check this guy had a bunch of new negative feedback about not shipping stuff.
    Every buyer that gave him negative feed back got negative feedback from him!
  • I used to like E-Bay (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sturm (914) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:36AM (#22333078) Journal
    Way back in the day, E-Bay used to be a great place to find and buy some pretty neat stuff. I bought several Sega GameGears, a complete C64 with original TV "monitor" (all in the original boxes), several "vintage" PC games and other odds and ends you couldn't easily find in other places.
    Unfortunately, for the last several years, E-Bay has become a haven for scam artists and people who try to sell crap in bulk. It feels more like a cheap flea-market than an actual auction.
    I hope E-Bay can turn things around by focusing a bit more on the individual buyer, but I'm not optimistic.
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:38AM (#22333110)
    I've lost hundreds of dollars hanging onto my 100% because of obnoxious buyers. I had one insist on overnighting a camera back to me after he couldn't figure out how to use it. I wound up refunding everything including the overnight charges. As part of that same sale two buyers in a row bailed out on me and Ebay tried to charge me both times. The first buyer didn't even respond after running up the sale price. The second guy claimed he didn't mean to bid eventhough he bid in the last 20 seconds of the sale. When I said I'd have to leave negative feedback he agreed to pay for it but then I wound up eating the overnight shipping when he whined about not being able to use the camera. I've had other problems with buyers as well as sellers but most of the trouble I've had was with buyers. Too many people get caught up in the excitement of bidding then don't want to go through with the purchase. It's not just odd collectables that get run up beyond what people are willing to pay it's often common items that aren't common to see on Ebay. I stopped selling through Ebay because it was too hard to keep my 100% and I hate dealing with Paypal. Also when Ebay made errors and overcharged me it took three months to get them to respond and refund the money.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Dr. Smoove (1099425)
      Dude, I think your problem is you're being far too nice. You need to be a prick on Ebay. Ebay is full of dickheads and mentally handicapped people. I love the offers that come to you like "il pay u $STARTINGBID 2 inclood shiping rite now". What do I look like fucking Wal-Mart, free shipping and shit? Eat a dick, if you want it bid on it. You give people the slightest leeway or the slightest indication that you are a nice guy, they will abuse you. When this guy whined about not being able to use the camera,
  • I heard somewhere (Score:5, Interesting)

    by techpawn (969834) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:39AM (#22333146) Journal
    That since eBay was losing the social aspect of the site to mySpace and Facebook that it had in the great long ago. It was going back to the core of it's business and that was to make sellers happy to move more stuff and generate more clicks. If people don't know they're buying from a troll they're more likely to try to buy from them and this would fit with the business of eBay... to make the Seller happy and get ad revenue.

    Or am I thinking eBay is just being an evil corporation or no reason?
  • They take away the only thing keeping people honest - the threat of negative feedback? What's the point of even having feedback then?

    Paypal used to be useful - you could contest the charge and do a chargeback if seller was trying to screw you. But now they're the same faceless corporation, in it for the commission.
  • by owlnation (858981)
    The joy that is 2008 continues. First we'll lose Yahoo, then AOL gets some more nails in their coffin and NOW...

    ...eBay is committing corporate suicide!

    While admittedly this is a change that has needed to happen for a very long time -- eBay is overrun by crooked sellers -- this is sure to drive away yet more honest sellers away from eBay. You have to be really determined to sell there. You have to really need to - it's far from fun already, and it's hard to make money if you're honest.

    eBay is run b
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We maintain multiple powerseller accounts with positive feedback totaling almost a combined 20,000 unique positive feedbacks. This is the worst thing imaginable for sellers. There will no longer be a balanced system, and sellers will have no way of protecting themselves from poor buyers because they will simply have 100% positive feedback. Sellers depend on other sellers to leave legitimate feedback as a guide for the integrity of the bidder. eBay has begun shifting (under a new CEO) to a format of main
    • Good riddance (Score:4, Interesting)

      by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04NO@SPAMhighpoint.edu> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:58AM (#22333414)
      The people with 20,000 feedback are the hardest to deal with anyway. They always have the crazy descriptions that are borderline unreadable, take minutes to load, and have the shipping price buried in something that looks like a legal document.
      You won't be missed by the buyers during your silly little boycott.

      The only time I've gotten a bad deal on E-Bay was some "power seller" that sent me a radio with a bad tape player and then tried to take me to arbitration over the bad feedback!
    • by peccary (161168)

      Sellers depend on other sellers to leave legitimate feedback as a guide for the integrity of the bidder.

      The key here is "legitimate" feedback. It is equally the same for buyers and sellers (and many people are both). EBay was cool in the 90s, but it's been overrun by opportunists. I no longer bother with EBay as the time investment and risk are just too high. If EBay can't solve their reputation problems, they'll be supplanted. Mark well when they pull out their patent portfolio and start suing competitors -- that will be the beginning of the end.

  • Just make sure that I can still leave feedback after I've actually received an item, including the possibility that I may have to work with the seller for a while to get it delivered. For instance, buying a car or a boat in another state drastically increases the length of time between the end of the auction and the time at which I know enough to leave informed feedback. Also, if a seller ships an item to the wrong address or if he can't get around to shipping it for a week, sometimes I am willing to forg
  • I still have an e-mail from a seller in which he threatened to leave me negative feedback if I left him negative feedback, after I e-mailed him 2 weeks into a transaction asking where my merchandise was. eBay is right to make this move--I didn't touch their site for a year after that experience. I'm sure there are bad buyers out there and that this will correspondingly anger sellers, but as an occasional seller myself, I simply do not ship merchandise until I receive payment. The seller does have more po
  • The solution is to allow arbitrary feedback, but not allow buyers or sellers to see the other party's feedback before submitting feedback themselves. The buyer or seller would be told that they received feedback, but would not get to see it until they either submitted their own feedback or clicked a box that they will forgo the right to submit feedback (the system might also have a time-limit on submitting feedback). That way, no "revenge" feedback is possible. Ebay could also tweak the ratings so that p
  • There is a very large number of posts in ebay's forums from sellers complaining about this.

    If I was a larger seller I'd be trying to get together with other big sellers to create a private system to share information about scamming/deadbeat/irrational/insane buyers and hijacked accounts.

    On another note, ebay UK has announced that all prices must included VAT (value added tax) if it is going to be charged. In typical ebay fashion until now their help pages said that VAT would be included but they refused to
  • Oh well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:56AM (#22333390) Homepage Journal
    I look at a seller's negatives, skip the ones which seem dumb, then check the comments of buyers who gave negatives that sound reasonable. If they get negatives from the seller, I label the seller "vengeful asshole" and pick a different one.

    Once I took the risk and got screwed by such one. He never got a comment from me. He paid up by court order, 1x the sales value for me, and 20x to a charity of the jury's choice.
    • Your approach is similar to mine. The points or percentage scores are too easy to game and therefore are useless. I read the actual comments with a critical eye. The credibility of the feedback comments vary by a factor of 1000 to 1, so focus on the credible comments, and follow the links to see if the buyer is a whiner or not. This points up the reform Ebay should be making: Increase the permissible length of feedback comments. 80 characters is so 1996.

      The gun auction sites have a built-in resistan

  • Google's Froogle shopping search filter should rate eBay sellers [google.com] just like it rates other "stores". Not rate just eBay itself, but per seller. Google should allow reviewers posting reviews from their eBay account to have weighted review points, or their own rating, and discard reviews posted from someone who received a negative review from their target in the past month or so.

    eBay is a market monopoly that needs balancing. If eBay is stopping its own users from being that counterbalance to its own users, th
  • eBay has always been "buyers beware" and recently I've had some bad experiences from sellers. Usually, it's from sellers who are unwilling to send an item that I've snagged at a low cost (no, I don't use sniping software). The last one I let get away, as it's becoming so commonplace. Problems with counterfeit merchandise are also common I've heard, though I don't think that I've been a victim of it (though I once thought I had). But when has a seller been burnt by a buyer? I have to assume that is a lot les
  • Reducing any of the time periods is a bad idea...
    Sometimes buying from international sources takes a significant amount of time to ship, and yet paypal only give you a limited time to make a claim...
    Also some unscrupulous sellers will try to keep you waiting around for the claim or feedback period to expire.

    The only 2 negative feedbacks i have on my ebay account were retaliatory, one seller sold me bad goods (google for fastmemoryman - he does it a lot), and another didn't like the fact i won a no reserve a
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:04AM (#22333494) Homepage Journal
    The problem is that when sellers get negative feedback, they retaliate against the buyers. So eBay's solution is to prevent negative feedback? Why doesn't eBay prevent seller retaliation? Prevent a seller from posting negative feedback against any buyer who posted negative feedback to that seller in the past month. Investigate claims from buyers of mere retaliation, and stop sellers from posting any negative feedback for a month on the first violation, stop for six months on the second, suspend their account for a month on the third, suspend for six months on the fourth, and shut them down on the fifth confirmed retaliation. Or some other aggressive policy that shows everyone that mere retaliation isn't worth it.

    Instead, eBay will stop all negative feedback. Which is the only feedback that I ever look at, to see what will go wrong (things going right is the expected default, until I look at feedback). That will turn all eBay transactions into uncertainty, which is bad for the entire market.

    But I guess eBay can rely on its monopoly (look it up, it means "market controller", not "sole marketer") to keep business roaring. Remember that eBay also controls PayPal, the unregulated Internet global banking monopoly, and Skype, the unregulated Internet global telco (not yet a monopoly, but gaining...). While eBay was protecting the consumer, those global market dominances in retail, banking and telephony were not such a threat. But now that they're showing the corporate bias towards secrecy to "solve" problems of abuse, they need a hard look.

    Someone's got to protect the consumer, even if it means just forcing eBay to allow consumers to inform each other what sellers and eBay are working against them. It doesn't have to be a government. Something like Froogle's reviews [slashdot.org] could harness people power around the world to do it even better.
  • This is not the right thing to be complaining about, another change that goes along with this is that final value fees are increasing from 5.25% to 8.75%. That makes items ending for $25.00 fees equal $2.19 instead of the current $1.31.
  • I don't live in the USA, although about 80% of the stuff I've purchased through ebay has come from the States. Typically, I have to wait between 3 to 5 weeks for an item to get to me from the USA from the date it's been delivered... if they don't leave time for me to leave feedback, I'll be more than a bit choked.

    Also, of course, there's the issue of how to deal with sellers who delay in shipping in the first place... which adds even further to the amount of time it takes until the buyer can completely

  • by Port1080 (515567) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:09AM (#22333570) Homepage
    I sold full time on eBay for about two years - I quit because I moved on to a better job, but my father still sells on eBay part time. From my perspective this is a good change. There is no way to leave "honest" negative feedback because of fear of retaliation, so one way or another the system had to change. Buyers need to be able to see negative feedback far more than sellers do - sellers have all the power, not buyers. The buyer sends the money, then the seller sends the goods. There is no point where the seller has neither money nor goods - but during the entire shipping process, the buyer is without his money and without his goods. So, unless you're a complete idiot seller, there's simply no way to get scammed on eBay. It's very easy, on the other hand, for buyers to get scammed. The worst thing that can happen to you as a seller is to have the buyer just not pay - but if that happens, you can file a non-paying bidder report to eBay and they will refund your final value fees, so even there you really don't lose out (they don't refund the listing fees, but considering they just lowered listing fees, this is even less of an issue now than it used to be - and you're also allowed to offer the item to the underbidder if the first bidder didn't work out, or relist the item). The other difficulty you may have as a seller is that if your buyer pays with PayPal or a credit card, he or she may file a fraudulent chargeback against you. This may be something you can use feedback to protect yourself against, but it's really an imperfect system. It's always been difficult to censor buyers based on feedback anyway - what are you going to do if the buyer bids at the very last minute, and you don't have time to cancel their bid and block them? eBay did allow you to set conditions for buyers and back out of the sale if the buyer didn't meat them, but it was always a difficult thing to enforce, anyway. As a seller you simply have to realize that there are a few small risks that come with retail (such as chargebacks, returns, and the occasional cranky buyer).

    Brick and mortar retailers are just as exposed (or even more exposed) to these problems. If eBay sellers want to be taken seriously, they just need to accept the there will occasionally be issues. The mantra of all successful retail businesses is that "the customer is always right". Whatever losses you take from the occasional return or other problem are more than made up for by the boost to your reputation you get by having customers view you as a fair and flexible retailer. If you want to be in retail, you've just got to have thick skin. I'm sure eBay has made the decision that if sellers can't accept selling by the terms of the normal retail environment, then they really don't need to be selling on eBay. All they will do is lower buyer's confidence and hurt the site's reputation
  • by esme (17526) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:09AM (#22333578) Homepage

    I think it would be much better to have separate buyer/seller feedback. If I'm buying something, I don't care if the seller has lousy buyer feedback. And vice versa. Having the two sets of feedback in one pool is what makes retaliation really serious -- one bad seller retaliating against you can affect your reputation as a seller.

    Not showing the feedback until both parties have commented is another good idea. That would help even more.

    -Esme

  • by nagora (177841) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:10AM (#22333592)
    I came here for a goddamned auction, not to see some pathetic imitation of an ordinary High Street. It drives me up the wall when I search for something and get back 50 items all at the same price, all "Buy it Now" only, and almost all from the same bloody seller in Hong Kong.

    THAT'S why I stopped using Ebay, not some stupid feedback issue.

    TWW

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      There's a filter option for that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phroggy (441)
      While I agree that seeing 50 identical items all from the same seller is ridiculous, I usually skip anything that doesn't have a Buy it Now option, because I don't have the patience to wait around for a week to see what the price has gone up to. If the auction is ending very soon, I might bid, but Buy it Now is mostly what I use.

      I understand that this means it's not an auction. But I don't want an auction, I just want to buy stuff, and eBay has the sellers.
  • by Pointy_Hair (133077) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:44AM (#22334164)
    At first I was thinking this was a bad thing. I occaisionally both buy and sell on eBay. As a seller I want to be able to leave a negative on bad buyers that bail, don't pay promptly, or otherwise screw with the trade.

    Now then - I could live with the change if eBay would improve the trade rules and their enforcement in addition to "automating" seller feedback (essentially what they are doing - the deadbeat buyer gets flagged by the system not by the seller). It sort of looks like that may be what they're doing but it might be too early to tell.

    Too many buyers (and sellers for that matter) are far too casual about communicating after an auction closes. When I buy or sell something at a live auction, the deal is closed before I leave the property. Yet on eBay, depending on the nature of the auction, there could be a lengthy delay between auction end and any enforcement actions taken or permitted by the system. Thigs I'd like to see:
    • Tighten up the timelines following auction close and enforce it with automation (automatic void/negative/suspend on deadbeats, fines, etc)
    • Open up the feedback (as-in limited time after auction to perform edits/updates) and maybe a one-time response to neutral or negatives after changes are locked out.
    • With the automation, tie in with both payment and shipping times (external verification versus user entered of course).

    Bottom line is that the feedback system, despite it's blemishes, is the one thing that lends a tiny bit of integrity when dealing with unknown buyers or sellers. As long as the improvements come with balance it's probably going to be a good thing. Personally, I take the feedback in context when I read it. If someone has one or two bad remarks you can usually see from the comments if it's some sort of extraordinary issue or not. Ditto for tit-for-tat nastiness. More than that shows a pattern and I avoid.
  • by Crazy Man on Fire (153457) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @01:13PM (#22335648) Homepage
    I consider myself to be a good eBay buyer and seller. I always leave honest feedback. Most has been positive, but some has been negative.

    I've received no negative feedback as a seller, despite several disputes that I eventually resolved with the buyers.

    The biggest problem I've had with eBay is that they don't enforce their policies on the seller. I've won several no reserve auctions for high value items at a fraction of the items' value. Just as a winning bidder has an obligation to pay, a seller has an obligation to sell to the winning bidder. Lame excuses abound when the seller finds that the item didn't fetch what they were expecting. I've heard "my apartment was robbed, sorry" or "I can't sell for such a low price" despite winning auctions.

    Aside from sellers to bid up their own auctions, sellers who refuse to sell at the close of the auction are the worst part of eBay. I've filed complaints with eBay in each instance, and then nothing. eBay won't discuss the complaint with me for privacy reasons. I doubt the seller even got a slap on the wrist. I've never won an auction and refused to pay, but my guess is that there are much more serious consequences for buyers in this situation than for sellers who refuse to sell.

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