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Tue July 23 2013 16:32:19

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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This topic came to me serendipitously today when I noticed someone had left me a negative feedback on Amazon.com. The feedback was left in June, and the sale was in April. It was then I realized that on Amazon, per their terms, "You have 90 days from the date of your order to leave your rating and comments." 

But another seller pointed out to me that the buyer, who had complained about the item being in bad condition, could have tried to resell the item himself and had a customer return for it within that time window. Then I checked the feedback time windows for other sites. On eBay, as you may know, it's 60 days. On Etsy? Anyone have a guess? 120 days. Wow! I don't think I'd remember some of my purchases very well at that point.

Feedback was also on my brain because Ina blogged today about eBay's impending Fall Seller Update; part of the changes will be feedback-related, with expanded situations where feedback can be removed. One such situation will be when "a buyer leaves low ratings or negative feedback but provided clearly positive comments." (Yes, that one's a head-scratcher. Anyone had that happen to them?).

Many sellers remember the foofaraw over return windows. When it went to a mandatory 14-day minimum on eBay in order to get a boost in Best Match search results (with 30 days being recommended), some clothing sellers groused that buyers might wear an item and then turn right around and return it.

Some retail stores, such as Target, have a 90-day window to return items as well. But - this is only for "most unopened items in new condition." There are a lot of items sold on eBay or Amazon that are pre-owned, so this makes returns a little fuzzier.

I contacted my buyer, as I do whenever there is a problem, and offered them a refund. Meantime, another veteran Amazon seller told me not to sweat it too much: "I have found that feedback doesn't mean much on Amazon," he said. "Your time is better spent in sourcing new products than worrying about feedback."

What do you think the ideal feedback window should be? And do you agree that buyers are less sensitive to feedback ratings on Amazon than on eBay? Post a comment here!




Comments (32) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Jul 23 19:43:34 2013

A competitor's son left me glowing positive feedback and 1s in communication and item as described.

Ebay refused to remove these low scores even though I showed them independent, irrefutable evidence that the buyer was related to the competitor.

Also had one buyer leave low scores and ultimately neutral feedback because she was angry I wouldn't give her a pre or post sale "discount" (shipping was "free). Ebay refused to remove these DSRs as well even though her motive was "clearly" stated in her ebay emails.

This taught me to end listings and hold them for a few weeks after unsolicited offers were made.

Feedback should limited to 14 days after receipt just like ebay requires us to accept returns.

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jul 24 02:57:47 2013

On Ebay it use to be 90 days.  It was only a couple years ago that they changed it to 60 days.  I'd still like to see that reduced to 45 days.  

OP as for return policies.  It honestly doesn't matter on Ebay if you put 14 days or 30 days.  It's important to remember that Buyer Protection supersedes anything you have on your listing.  So a buyer actually has 45 days to file a claim.  Then with the claim process consider, a buyer could get as much as about 60 days to return an item if the strung out the claims process, maybe even a little longer.  But if they never open a claim, the maximum they have is 45 days.

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Jul 24 09:12:10 2013

>>What do you think the ideal feedback window should be? And do you agree that buyers are less sensitive to feedback ratings on Amazon than on eBay? Post a comment here!<<

I don't agree that buyers are less sensitive to feedback. I know my husband and I sure are. We look for both a combination of decent price AND decent feedback when buying on Amazon. Case in point, my DIL had a book on her wish list for her birthday this week. The cheapest copy was $6.60 but I ended up spending $20 for the book. As all the lower priced sellers, even though their feedback was in the 90's their bad comments against them were truly bad. I wasn't going to take that chance so I used a newer seller that had 20+ 100% positive feedback. I also have had chances to check the other sellers and prices when something I have for sale sells on Amazon. Just the other day, I had a higher price, but better feedback, and better description for my item. I don't think buyers are so blind as to ignore poor feedback or such a lack of description/comments that they can't be sure of what they are buying.

I think at the most 30 days to leave feedback is sufficient. Longer I suspect is where many end up getting the wrong seller's feedback (usually a negative) and also the "I never got my item" comments even though DC shows that the item was delivered 3 days after purchase! I think when a month or so is over many can't remember that they actually got the item. I can't imagine waiting a month or more for an item, not letting the seller know until 60-90 days have passed and then saying you never got it!
 

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 24 09:31:02 2013

I have to agree with Moonwishes.  I utilize feedback ratings when I'm making my purchasing decisions.  However, I too believe that someone that makes a purchase from you should be able to leave feedback for that item in 14 days.  As a Seller on Etsy I personally NEVER leave feedback for a buyer until they have left me feedback....and if they don't leave any neither do I.  After 120 days (which is ridiculous) it just drops away and they no longer can leave feedback.

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 24 09:49:56 2013

14 days. is enough time to check an item and leave feedback. Rare cases when a package arrives the day you leave on a 2 week trip.
Amazon feedback is far from the true representation of a seller. Only time I am concerned is when repeated feedback as item in very poor condition not like new as advertised. Then I will pass. Most people that purchase on Amazon do not realize that only 10% leave feedback. I really doubt the other 90% are too unhappy to leave feedback. Think more to the point they were satisfied with the purchase and don't know or care about the importance of feedback. Why Amazon does not have total sales number included with feedback is beyond me. That would seem more fair to me. Probably too difficult for them to program in.
ebay gets more feedback. Think due to more sellers are also buyers and know the importance of feedback?? That being the case, ebay should do everything to make their customers, the SELLERS, happy and profitable. They pay ebay in both selling and buying, so why would anyone in their right mind want to get rid of them??

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

by: ceramicsbooks This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 24 10:15:48 2013

I completely stopped leaving any feedback (good or bad) to either buyers or sellers, over a year ago.
As far as I'm concerned I refuse to take any further part in a biased, unfair and corrupt system.
I offer the best service I can and don't worry about feedback anymore, just as I no longer give a damn about my Top Seller rated status. I refuse to jump through anymore hoops of fire just to please ebay.
I don't believe the feedback system has anything useful to offer me as a seller, it is used  merely as a stick to beat me.... and I've had enough. If we all stopped using the feedback system then the system would collapse... viva la revolution.

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

This user has validated their user name. by: MJRock

Wed Jul 24 10:17:29 2013

I'm an eBay Seller, and I refuse to even leave feedback for my buyers, unless they ask me to.  I don't leave feedback, because I don't want to ''remind'' the customer to leave feedback for me, because the feedback system is broke on eBay, why use it at all?

Case in point, I just received neutral feedback from a customer, with the comments of ''GREAT'' . . . I checked customers feedback left for others, and customer leaves 4 Neutrals in a row for other sellers as well, all saying ''GREAT''.  Doesn't this customer deserve a neutral from me in return?  Nope, all I can leave is a positive, with a warning to others to stay away from this customer . . .

To say my BLOCK LIST is growing quickly is an understatement . . .  

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 24 10:26:41 2013

On a site that is honest feed back is always welcome but with ebay it seems that feed back is out of control. The big problem is fraud is out of control and a small percent of the buyers use the feed back system to make false statements to hurt the reputation of the seller.

Example a buyer buys a cook book that my wife had that was a gift she had received and never used because she had the book.
The book was sold and as we looked ay the buyers feed back we saw she had bid on the same book from another buyer and won at a lower price.
This buyer the emailed us ans said the item was not as described and the book had food in it and had water stains. We had pictures that showed this was not the truth. We ended up receiving a Negative Feed back and 4 1's. She had put a claim into ebay and had received her refund. When we got our book back to our surprise she had smeared mustard and grape jelly on several of the pages and dipped the book in water. This was a fraud case at the best and was done for .35 cents. ebay didn't do a thing and our 100% feed back and our perfect DSR score had been broken.

We have received 7 Negative Feed backs over buyers not updating their shipping addresses. We found out that one buyer had updated the address with ebay prior to us shipping to find out ebay would not forward the information to the seller since it was not confirmed hurting both the seller and the buyer.

One of the worse group of Negative feed back and low DSR came when PayPal held an echeck from a buyer with one feed back. After talking to the upset buyer and her telling me she didn't care whos fault it was hung up the phone. We shipped her order in less than an hour after PayPal had released her payment and we ended up losing our TRS and it looked like we were the most dishonest seller on ebay with feed back that said that we don't ship in a timely manner. That didn't sit very well because we ship 2 times a day plus holidays.

We want a total overhaul of the feed back and DSR system so honest sellers can build their business with out having few buyers use it to hurt our stores.
ebay can suport the 1% of the buyers that are killing ebay or they protect the 99% of the buyers that want a safe place to shop.
The DSR system must go and the feed back system needs to be changed to positive system that protect both buyer and sellers from the fraud that can be found on a large site like ebay.

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

by: Shawn This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 24 10:27:35 2013

14 days is not enough time for used video games, which I sometimes buy. I would be very uncomfortable buying many items if I had to decided in 14 days if it worked, such as a tablet, laptop, phone or game console -- anything that a person would need to use to make sure that it works.

I don't think something should have to work forever, but buyers should have a chance to use something to verify that it really works, if the item is sold in good working condition. Problems with a long video game, console or computer might not show up immediately.

As for feedback, I check it on ebay and Amazon, and make my choices accordingly. I also will pay more to a seller with better feedback and a better description.

As for positive feedback and low ratings, sure -- I can imagine getting a perfectly good item, but it taking a month to arrive. In fact, that happened with some posters I ordered years ago. I loved the posters, but I had to hound the seller to send them. It was ridiculous. A person should not have to open a claim to get their item shipped! So although I was overall pleased, I could not leave glowing feedback. If there were stars then, I'm sure I would have scored that seller low for shipping and communication because he didn't ship for 3 weeks and didn't respond to messages ever.  

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
Web Site

Wed Jul 24 11:00:20 2013

I believe for domestic mail or items ship withing your country. The 30 days of feedback is good enough.

The DSR wasn't a bad idea. The problem is how eBay implemented and deal with it. Not matter what they said there isn't limit or restrictions. It isn't a constructive tool where you can learn from an ''error/mistake'' because is only a method to penalize sellers.  

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rocky
Web Site

Wed Jul 24 11:03:05 2013

As has been stated by others, I will pay more for an item from a seller with better feedback.  Also, foreign shipments take longer to process and allow for slow deliveries, so more time for removal should be allowed by eBay.  I had an item to France that never showed up so the buyer left me a negative after 60 days had passed.  I got the item returned to me in horrible condition over 90 days after mailing.  It literally had tire marks on it and my return address was the only legible thing left on the label.  eBay refused to remove the negative even with the written consent and agreement from the buyer because the 90 day window had passed.  Some flexibility is needed in these instances.

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Jul 24 11:27:32 2013

Feedback time limits that apply to ALL categories probably have to be longer due to the nature of some categories.

For most categories, 30-45 days is probably plenty of time.

Even for media mail & standard parcel items that can take a long time to arrive, that time period should work.

But the electronic, rebuilt appliance, anything mechanical - items should have a little time to see if they work properly or not.

Example: Last year we went through 4 brand new coffeemakers (not online purchases) that either did not work out of the box, or quit working within a month. It became a joke - but the brand's customer service soldiered on & we finally ended up with a keeper.

If this were an eBay purchase, the total time period it took to get the ''keeper'' would have taken over two months!

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

by: Grandma_Fish This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 24 11:40:25 2013

I leave feedback as soon as I receive the item or within a day or two, if I'm having a busy week. I personally think the ideal feedback window is 60 days. In my opinion, that's more than enough time to determine if the item was ''as described'' or whether it works as it should, etc. For clothing and shoes, I think the window should be a little tighter, like 14 to 30 days.

Feedback is just as important to me on Amazon as it is on Ebay, although that may be because I do a lot of product research and comparison shopping on a lot of sites before I make a purchase. I feel that I need to be a little more careful when making a purchase online, because I can't just drive down to my local department store and return it if it's defective (unless I purchased it online from Walmart).

Like Moonwishes, I always weigh feedback comments and overall seller ratings, as well as product reviews when making a purchase online. I've often purchased a higher-priced item, even though there was a lower-price available from a competing seller because the lower-priced seller had poor feedback comments. The seller feedback makes all the difference when I'm making a decision whether to purchase from them over a competitor. I've also often bought from sellers in spite of a few negative comments.  Because I've been a seller myself for a number of years, I've become pretty adept at deciphering feedback extortion and unreasonable expectations hidden in buyer comments (i.e., the PITA buyer who leaves ''slow shipping'' comments for the seller who shipped the item the same day payment was received).  

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

by: DonC This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Jul 24 11:40:39 2013

Not sure, don't really care. A couple of weeks after the buyer receives the item sounds about right.

The DSR's could be a very useful tool for improving quality unfortunately the way they are implemented results in little useful value for the seller and plenty of potential downsides. This should be dropped.  

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 24 12:40:41 2013

Thirty days is more than ample.

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jul 24 13:06:06 2013

@MJRock

That is why Ebay removed our ability to do neg or neutral FB in the first place. Retaliation.  You want to give your buyer a neutral because they did it to you.  That way of thinking and action was what started this whole mess.

You'd be better served to contact Ebay and report the buyer for FB abuse.  Contacting your buyer is a good idea too if you can stay polite and professional when chatting with them.  They may not understand what they are doing to other members with FB like this.  It truly is not well explained to buyers.  So it may be a simple misunderstanding on their part.

@ Ed

You are so right.  Ebay will flat out tell you that buyers have the right to leave honest FB and/or their opinion of whatever they deem happened.  Sellers on the other hand are not.  If it isn't a positive comment we are told to either lie or say nothing.

@rocky

The timing for being able to get FB removed doesn't start from the transaction date, the clock starts from the date the FB was left.  

**************************

I don't think Ebay would ever look at a FB time limit that is shorter than what they allow for returns.  Just my opinion.

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

This user has validated their user name. by: MJRock

Wed Jul 24 15:04:42 2013

@Marie

It's not my responsibility to teach customers how eBay works, that's eBays.  And contacting eBay?  Yeah right, I'm sure they will do something about it . . .

I could contact the buyer about leaving a neutral, and say they do agree to change it, but I'm already at my 5 revisions per 1000 transactions.  FIVE, that's all eBay gives you . . . so I have to save those for negatives from untaught eBay buyers.

In the old system, fear of retaliation kept buyers from leaving stupid feedback in the first place. . . old buyers knew to contact the seller FIRST BEFORE LEAVING FEEDBACK if there was an issue, else "retaliation feedback" would happen. It taught buyers to be respectful for the ratings they left.  

And when both buyers and sellers could leave the same positive, neutral or negative feedback, if "retaliation" did happen, both parties had the chance to have "mutually removed feedback" to settle the issue . . .


Now they can leave anything they want, even if perfect service was given to them . . . and buyers have no way to "retaliate" against buyers who don't care to learn how eBay works, sellers who target competitors with negs, and a whole long list of reasons why eBays feedback system is broke.

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Jul 24 15:20:06 2013

A word or ten about so called "retaliatory" feedback.

What little negative feedback I've received over the years came from either from buyers who "clearly" had mental health problems like the woman who claimed the OOAK item she received wasn't the one in the photo (it was) or those engaging in post sale extortion (pre Ho).

In the former case, I invited her return the item at my expense for a full refund. She refused and left negative feedback.

So of course I gave her negative feedback as well. Is this retaliation? I don't think so. My feedback accurately portrayed this buyer and warned other sellers.

Same with the latter group of extortionists.

Sellers should have the right to warn other sellers about extremely difficult in not ill or criminal buters.

Further we should the right to determine the precise criteria for blocks including the ability not to sell to low feedback buyers.

The criteria choices ebay gives us now are worthless.

As has been pointed out many times before, ebay defines star ratings in a deliberately misleading way in order to entice buyers to leave low ratings and eliminate seller discounts.

Nearly everything that's causing ebay to fail can be traced to the ebay corporate culture of constant and universal deceptions, lies, and secrets including their Soviet Union style feedback/DSR system.


How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 24 15:25:45 2013

I think buyers should just have a menu to chose from for leaving feedback and that’s it so that a line cannot be crossed if there’s going to be feedback.
Such as these to chose from for example.

Choose from the following feedback to leave for your seller:

Shipped quickly
Excellent Customer Service
Fair Shipping & Handling
Over-all happy!
Or just a positive symbol +
Or needs improvement but over-all good.
Not happy but resolved. (After all eBay always resolves it in some way so why not say it is resolved.)

I mean sellers do at least something good it would be nice if the positive was focused on more than the negative for everything including feedback.
There should be a line drawn to build some integrity and keep it.

The same can be done for sellers leaving buyers FB. Such as:

Smooth transaction
Quick payment
Excellent Customer
Or needs improvement but over-all good.
Not happy but resolved
Or just a positive symbol +

I also think eBay then needs to stop docking people for their FB since it would be like the above. The whole point of feedback is basically to inform people that’s it. Not to abuse and batter everyone.

Then when it comes to resolving the issue allow the seller to apply their policy instead of all of the other rules etc.

I also feel sellers should still have the right to block whom ever we like.

I know I am probably dreaming but this would be soooooo nice!

How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?   How Long Is too Long to Leave Feedback?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jul 24 16:11:05 2013

@ ming

What you describe is different and to me understandable.  But what MJ was stating was clearly and solely based on the fact that the buyer posted a neutral.  That is retaliatory.  MJ wasn't wanting to leave one because something transpired in the transaction but only because they left a neutral.  You had cause, something happened during the transaction to warrant such a response by you or any other seller.  But to solely base giving a neg or a neutral because you got one is exactly what got us where we are today.

I firmly agree with you that sellers should have some way of posting on a buyer's FB that something like what happened to you happened.  I take absolutely no argument with that at all.  And if we had such an ability, then so much of this bad behavior by buyers would stop in my opinion.

DSRs are extremely misleading as you state.  They always have been and many of us have fought hard to at the very least get Ebay to change the wording, but of course we all know what has happened with that, NOTHING!

I don't agree about low FB buyers however.  I welcome new customers as most businesses do.  To turn away someone for the sole reason they are new to shopping on Ebay or have very little experience makes no sense to me.  How are they to gain experience if it is not allowed?  How are we suppose to get more traffic if new customers aren't welcome?  Can you picture the greeter at WalMart asking each person entering the store if they had shopped there before and if the answer was No, they would then turn them away!  Of course not.  That would be silly.

But if we had the vehicle to post honest and true FB, then I think the problems you may be experiencing with newer members would go away quickly.  Speaking for myself only, I have far more trouble with seasoned Ebayers and even sellers than I do with newer members.

@MJrock

There are many sellers out there that have stopped leaving FB for buyers because of the current way the FB system is.  I understand the reason and respect your decision for doing that with your little business.

I know you are concerned about reminding a buyer to leave FB and that you and most sellers are better off if buyers would just forget to post FB, you should be aware that Ebay DOES send reminders.  We can NOT opt out of them.  I have raised a lot of concern over this with Ebay, but they won't budge.  On my small account I got a negative because and solely because my buyer got the reminder from Ebay.  The buyer even said so.  It annoyed them.  I tried to explain that I had nothing to do with it, but they didn't care.

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