EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 144 - June 05, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     4 of 6

The Challenges of eBay Feedback

By Mark O'Neill

Email This Story to a Friend

I recently received an email from an eBay customer saying she wanted to make a complaint. A hundred different complaint scenarios flashed through my head. But she complained I had asked her for a feedback. She was of the opinion that she shouldn't be "hassled for feedback" and she threatened to leave a negative as a result.

In my opinion, the transaction isn't totally over until the feedback has been left. Until the customer leaves the feedback, it's entirely possible that they could come back a month or two later, say they're not happy and demand a refund.

There have been many times when the customer has told me the item arrived and that they were somersaulting around the house in unbridled joy at their new purchase. Two months down the line, I get an email telling me that they're not happy after all. This means I have to hold onto all the emails relating to each transaction until the feedback has been given.

There are some past customers of mine who wait up to the maximum 90 days feedback period before announcing that they are not happy. The common allegation is that their item didn't arrive. If they had announced this perhaps a week or two after I sent it, I could have gone to the post office and tried to track the parcel. I could have offered replacement items or even a refund. But if the customer waits months to let me know that their item is missing, how can I then even attempt to trace it? If you're dissatisfied with something you've bought, do you normally wait 2-3 months to tell the seller about it?

I am one of the many people on eBay that thoroughly checks out someone's feedback rating before bidding for an item. If there are several of the same item, I tend to go for the person with the highest positive feedback rating. This makes it important for people, particularly buyers, to leave regular feedback.

Some eBayers declare outright that they won't leave feedback until the other person does. Then if you leave a neutral or a negative, the other side will too in retaliation.

My view is that if buyers pay, they've kept their side of the bargain, and I leave feedback immediately. If they later end up not being happy with the item and choose to leave a neutral or a negative, then that's their right as the customer. Tit-for-tat feedback is nothing more than kindergarten behavior.

I am not suggesting that you harass a customer for a feedback. When I send an item, I wait a few days and when I think the item has probably arrived, I send a cheerful email asking them if their item has arrived. I also ask if they are happy or not, and if they would mind leaving a quick feedback so the transaction can be closed. That's it. Most customers are happy at being given a feedback reminder but there are always the odd few spoiling for a fight.

What are your views on feedback? Send a letter to the editor and let everyone know about it.

About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to and either link to the original article or to
All other use is prohibited.