Why would anyone sell a penny on eBay for a penny? A reader sent us a link to a seller who lists pennies on eBay in order to boost their feedback. "This seller has continued to buy/swap/conspire to get positive feedback accumulating their 100% to over 1000 total with 10% (or more) of their "feedback" fake from feedback swapping."
The seller in question boosted their feedback as a result of the penny listings and shows as a "Top Rated Seller with highest buyer ratings." In the descriptions, they write in part: "All buyers will receive a 5 Star Positive Ratings because you are so awesome even if you pick up your penny or not. Please leave positive feedback for me if you are happy with your purchase."
Top Rated Sellers can qualify for a 20% discount on final value fees and USPS Commercial Plus pricing - and the seller's other (non-penny) listings display a TRS Plus badge.
According to the reader, "It's impossible to report item or user via report channel and choices, and the offshore eBay reps don't see what the problem is, or can't act on it, or don't understand."
Some sellers have said eBay's own TSAMs have recommended to sellers they add a cheap, easy-to-sell item to their product line to smooth out any less-than-perfect feedback they might receive - where do you draw the line?
Here's how the penny-listing feedback strategy works, according to the reader:
- They don't ship (local pick up only), which,
- No one picks up;
- They don't collect money, but mark it as paid;
- They "give" and "receive" feedback for the cost of fees on the sale, for less than a penny or so each one;
- Quid pro quo swapping with others.
eBay head of Marketplaces Devin Wenig said recently he'll be taking a look at the eBay feedback system - is this an area that needs to be examined? eBay has a feedback manipulation policy
in place - is it a matter of improving the policy or enforcing it?
Is there anything comparable on other online marketplaces where sellers try to game the system? Let us know what you think!