|Thu Oct 21 2010 23:05:16|
eBay Launches New Hub for Reporting Bad Buyers
By: Ina Steiner
Last month, eBay told sellers it would be launching a new way to report bad buyers. eBay said the new hub would be easy to access and would provide streamlined reporting to share their full experience with a buyer. An eagle-eyed reader spotted the new page here today.*
eBay said in its September announcement that it would add links to the reporting hub in more places, including the Feedback flow, Seller Dashboard, the seller information page in the eBay Buyer Protection hub, and in Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro. eBay stated, "Though it won't be public or visible to buyers, the information you provide will be used by eBay to help identify and take action against these buyers and sellers. They may be suspended or placed on restriction and their feedback and Buyer Protection cases removed from your account."
The AuctionBytes reader who found the new hub today was not impressed.
"That's the new and super improved reporting hub that seller have been waiting for ever and a half? That's just the plain old help page from before with new navigation on the left ?!?!?! That's the new page that was announced to sellers as a way to report buyers that eBay uses in the back to track and tell us how many times feedback were retracted and all? I hope not, this is very disappointing if it is."
However, eBay Vice President of Seller Experience Todd Lutwak told AuctionBytes last month that eBay would use that information the same way it uses reports on sellers. "We will look into the cases, we will look for corroborating evidence and things that other sellers have said and reported about those buyers. And if we find out that the buyers are not playing fairly, then we will take action against those buyers."
He said eBay had hired a team of people to look into those buyer cases, and to see if a buyer is giving too high of a negative or neutral rate, or have too high of an unpaid item rate, and to see if a buyer opens claims at a rate that eBay finds concerning.
What kinds of bad buying behavior exists on eBay? Feedback abuse, feedback manipulation, feedback extortion, unpaid item, unwelcome bidding or buying, customs fraud, and abuse of the Buyer Protection program, according to the reporting hub.
With eBay aggressively promoting its Buyer Protection program, sellers need a defense against abusive buyers. Sellers who encounter bad buyers may be able to point them to this page to keep them in line - will it be enough to deter them from abusing sellers?
UPDATE 10/21/10: As some sellers pointed out, the above URL points to the current reporting hub. We checked in with Johnna Hoff who said eBay expects the new reporting hub to be in place in November. She said, "As you can see from the existing page, we already do ask sellers to report problems; the new reporting hub will be more prominent and make it easier to do so."
It's interesting to see eBay CEO John Donahoe discussing the issue of bad buyers in this video interview conducted in May. At about one-minute-fifty-four, he says eBay needs to do more about the perception of abusive buyers on eBay.
Is the new hub going to help eBay get rid of bad buyers, or is it going to change sellers' perception of bad buyers? Certainly five months later, I'd say the "perception" hasn't changed. We'll have to wait until next month to find out what the new hub is really all about.