AuctionBytes Soundoff: Letters from Readers
By Ina Steiner
In every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From feedback to payment services, from increased fees to posting policies, AuctionBytes Soundoff gives you a chance to air your views.
eBay is going to be removing the "Designer, Artisan Jewelry Category" and replacing it with "Designer Brands" Designer Brands will list big designers like 1928, Banana Republic, Brighton, etc. All of us Artisans will be lumped under "Other." "Beaded, Lampwork" will simply be deleted and absorbed into "Other." There will be NO category for Artisan - Self-Representing Jewelry Artists - on eBay under this plan.
Please join us in fighting this change by letting your voice be heard here: Mid-July Designer, Artisan Category Changes http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?threadID=200089953
Or join us here: Self-Representing Jewelry Artists http://groups.ebay.com/forum.jspa?forumID=100029964
Mark O'Neill stirred up some readers with his last column about leaving feedback for trading partners (http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y205/m06/abu0144/s04).
In my opinion, an ebay seller requesting Feedback from a buyer is like a waiter requesting a tip from a restaurant customer. I consider it bad form. Leaving Feedback is optional according to ebay rules and I treat it that way. I never put pressure on someone to leave Feedback. If someone doesn't care to leave Feedback, that is his choice and I respect it.
Besides, if you are a quality seller, you will get all the positive Feedback you need soon enough, regardless. There is no need to beg for it. David
Dear Madame Editor!
The fellow who wrote the piece about feedback in this issue has, in my not too humble opinion, missed the boat on what feedback is for. It is not a good business management technique to wait for a buyer to leave feedback in order to know whether a transaction is over. It is over when I as the seller decide it is over. My information going out to buyers when an items has been shipped does indicate that I will leave feedback for them but the transaction does not extend beyond 30 days of the close of the listing.
Feedback is a whim and not really a part of the selling process at all once a decision has been made to buy an item. There are plenty of sellers who don't leave feedback and probably 50% of my buyers don't bother with feedback.....so it is a truly unreliable, not to mention crumby method of measuring when a transaction is finished.
Anyone who writes to me after having had it for two months and suggests a return for refund is not going to get anything but a chuckle from me. And I have never had one customer do that in more than five years on eBay.
I ask in a note to the buyer in the shipment to contact me to let me know that the parcel has arrived safely. And they do, sometimes....but 30 days is my standard and is much more reliable both in terms of certainty and fairness to both me and the buyer.
The idea of using feedback as a determination for when a transaction is finished was never intended as part of that system....it is, actually, a means of measuring the veracity of the participants before the fact, not after.
This is a response to Mark. Loved your article. I completely agree with your views on feedback and I cannot imagine how any buyer would threaten to leave you a negative feedback after receiving your reminder notice. There are always a few who are just not right in the head and cannot wait to cause problems for others. That's what takes the joy out of doing our business. Keep writing the great articles!
this is in response to "The Challenges of eBay Feedback".
as a seller, i have through the years made several changes to my policies regarding feedback. 1st and most importantly regarding the issue of feedback in general. IT IS NOT the place of the seller to immediately jot off a positive feedback for the buyer the moment the payment arrives.
think it through. do other merchants, be if on-line or catalog sales, consider a transaction finished the moment a buyers money arrives? of course not! a transaction is not complete in any venue until the item is sent, then received, and most importantly, after the buyer has been satisfied!
ebay feedback is not meant as simply a rating of how quickly a buyer sends the money. there is a lot more to a transaction than that. feedback should be a measure to how a buyer (or seller) conducts himself throughout the whole process.
this means for a buyer, how they conduct themselves AFTER receiving (or not) the item. there is not excuse for complaints 90 days out, it is not reasonable by anyones standards.
i put an enclosure letter in each package. it states, "If for any reason you are not satisfied with the item, please notify me within 3 days of receiving same". period! if you have a problem, which i will happily address, 3 days, that is reasonable.
i also state, "Your feedback for me, is my way of knowing that you have received the item, that you are satisfied, and that the transaction is complete".
this really was implemented to cut down on emails, for as a volume seller, i really don't want to have to read that the item was received and how happy they are. feedback is the place for that.
sounds cold, but there is not money in the profit margin to hire extra people to sort through the non-essentials.
bottom line is, how a buyer conducts themselves right up to the feedback process, is a measure of how well the transaction went. why would a seller want to leave a positive feedback and then have a scenario such as the writer of this article describes? totally lacking in common sense.
there is something very wrong with the mentality that it is up to the seller to leave feedback first. as any seller can tell you, the transaction isn't over until the buyer has received the item and they are happy.
feedback should be the responsibility first, of the buyer. he is the one calling the shots.my opinion, for what it's worth, an ebay silver power seller
On April 3rd, you published my article on international shipping. In it, I cited a case where the buyer claims they never got the package. I refunded her money ($3.15 which included postage).
Believe it or not, she sent me $3.15 via PayPal. Seems the package finally arrived, 9 months after shipment. I guess there are some honest people out there as she could have kept the money.
PS: It was a package to Canada!
Re: The Perils of Bid Cancelling on eBay
Re: seller bid retraction of highest bid. The seller has to make a "second chance offer" to the next highest bidder, and it's an "option" not a requirement to take them up on it.
That was a very good article on Bid Cancellations you wrote and you would be surprised on just how many bidders have no idea that this can take place and they are stuck in the deal to buy it. That is the reason I almost never Bid on a item until the very last min or so as you never know what is around the corner until you get there. Some will call me a sniper because I bid like that, but many times I have been ready to bid on a item only to have the same exact item come up for sale by another seller that is in better shape or at a Buy it Now price for less money. And that my friends is the name of the game for a buyer, getting the best deal they can.
Just a little thanks for all the great newsletters. I love getting them and thought you need to know you are appreciated,
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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