Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue July 30 2013 21:00:13

eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

By: Greg Holden and Ina Steiner

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The executive in charge of feedback at eBay appeared on eBay's radio program today to discuss changes as part of the Fall Seller Release announced this morning. Brian Burke, eBay's Director of Global Feedback, answered questions about the new feedback removal policy along with his colleague Ismael who is Senior Manager of North American Feedback.

The segment replaced the usual Town Hall Meetings that normally follow a major announcement impacting sellers. There were a few revelations throughout the segment, for example, the executives said the new feedback removal policy is retroactive for 60 days.

In the introduction, Jim "Griff" Griffith said it was the first update in memory where there's really no bad news.

"It's all good news. It's all expansion of things. There is now a grace period if you're a top rated seller and if you're trailing 12 months, you have two evaluation periods to pick it up. And the expanded feedback policy. The last bullet on the seller update page, eBay determines the feedback criteria. eBay removing feedback ratings is "the right thing to do." Also eBay returns enhancements. They're all pretty good."

Greg Holden, our intrepid live-blogger, took a stab at covering the radio segment that included some questions from listeners. Keep in mind this is not a transcript, and please forgive any typos or mis-attributions.

Brian Burke: I think number one, we're trying to have a more globally consistent policy. We also wanted to make it more fair. Those sellers who are using our item specifics, working with the buyers, we want to protect them in those scenarios where they are doing best practices from a buyer's standpoint.

Ismael: The biggest change is that we want sellers to make it very clear,...large photos, clear photos, take all the pertinent details about the item in item specifics. If they do this, the seller will be protected from any feedback they receive.

Brian: There's a number of changes to the policy, but the significant ones are the ones where they are using structured data. If you use the item condition field and you say the item is used and the buyer leaves a negative feedback and says it was used, we're going to look at that negative feedback and say, that's not necessarily the seller's fault. There's another example that few people have run into, but, If the buyer sends an email after purchasing and says hey, can you ship to a different address, and it has already been shipped, based on data pulled from our site, and the buyer says the seller wouldn't ship to an address, we will look at that and protect the seller in that scenario.

Griff: eBay says "removing the feedback ratings is the right thing to do."

Ismael: Every seller encountered a situation where PayPal puts a hold until an item is received. Sometimes it's a number of days while PayPal investigates. There's a hold on that payment so the seller doesn't ship the item. That can result in a frustrated buyer. If the buyer leaves negative feedback, we will protect the seller.

Brian: We want to ensure that the agents, as they are looking at the cases, look at each case holistically rather than strictly by the rules. That said, we've got rules there for a reason. We want the agent to be able to say, here are some things we'd like to see you change, and in the future, we'll protect you.

Griff: You brought up a case that *wouldn't* be a case for removal. What was that?

Ismael: A new policy we have is we will protect the seller in the case of a cancelled transaction. Buyer buys item, realizes that The Home Depot is selling it cheaper, cancels the transaction. We will remove any feedback there, but we wouldn't remove the feedback if they cancel the transaction because the seller ran out of stock. That's not a seller best practice.

Brian: The buyer has a legitimate reason for leaving negative feedback in that case.

Lee Mirabel (cohost): Let's say I get negative feedback,...what do I do to get the low ratings and negative feedback removed?

Brian: If it's clear cut like that, the seller should contact customer support. Whether it's email or phone. Depending on what country you're in, you might not have access to phone, you can just email us. You can contact customer support with the item number, with the feedback that was left and the reason why you don't think you should have it, and the agent can take care of it while you're on the phone and take care of the situation while you're still on the phone.

Griff: Will I be referred to a rep who can make that decision or just a general rep who may not know the answer?

Brian: As the information comes that they know it's about feedback, you'll get routed to a queue where agents are there who can handle feedback.

Lee: Do we get instant gratification or does it take a few days?

Brian: If it meets the new policies, you will get instant gratification. But I caution that there are plenty of reasons for buyers to leave negative feedback. Also we want to distinguish between sellers who are providing great service and those who aren't.

Griff: And you should always try to work it out with the buyer first. ... Is there any message if you leave negative feedback, that tells a buyer to contact the seller to work this out?

Ismael: In fact there are two messages.

Lee: When does the expanded feedback policy take effect?

Brian: Tomorrow.

Segment 2
eBay opened the segment to questions from listeners.

Q. Lynn: I think I love the new changes. ... During holiday time, I sell a lot of brand new toys, very common toys. Say I was selling a new iPhone 5. Customer get it, isn't what they thought it would be, and they have left me negative feedback, based on the product, not on my service or what I have done. In this case, would this be removed?

Brian: I think we would need to understand why it didn't work or didn't meet their satisfaction, and what was the discrepancy between the description and what they received.

Q. When you list an iPhone 5, you use the details that are in the standard database for that item. They get it and they say 'It's not big enough.'"

Brian: In a scenario like that, the changes, if we stick with the iPhone 5 example, all the data gets pre-populated in the item Specifics fields. In that scenario if the buyer says I thought I was getting the black iPhone and there is clearly a picture of a white iPhone, we would protect the seller. Whenever you can use item specifics or create your own Item Specifics field, and you say, there is a blemish, and the buyer complains about that, we would protect the buyer. ... Going forward, make sure that in the Item Specifics field the model number and count are included, we would protect you going forward.

Griff: But not if it was just in the description, you want to create in the Item Specifics.

Brian: Yes.

Griff: Why is that?

Brian: They're kind of bulleted, and at the top of the description, so the buyer can see them at a glance, instead of I've spoken to thousands and thousands of sellers at eBay and I've seen the 7-page descriptions, and it's unlikely in a mobile world that a buyer is going to read that much content.

With the TRS program, going forward, there will be a grace period for those sellers who kept good standing for three months, if you miss one month, we'll keep you in the program.

Q. Lloyd: One, I understand the new eBay feedback system, is that retroactive?

Ismael: It's retroactive for 60 days.

Q. Two, I sell motorcycles on eBay. With a BIN or best offer available, I run into a lot of problems with buyers making an offer and then backing out. Is there anything I can do about that?

Griff: Next year, in eBay Motors, we will have an expansion where when someone makes an offer and the offer is accepted, that will close out the item.

(Editor's note: This was a reference to Best Offer that was rolled out in some categories in the Spring Seller Release.)

The entire radio session is available where other areas of the Fall Seller Release were also covered, and on Thursday, eBay will hold a call-in question and answer session from 11:00 am-1:00 pm PT - details at the end of today's eBay Announcement.

You can learn more about eBay's Fall Seller Release and post a comment in the Blog.

And please take our survey and let us know what you think of the changes.

Comments (40) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Jul 31 17:53:34 2013

WHAT - A - LOAD !
This Ebay STINKS in comparison to the REAL Ebay (2001).
Give us back the REAL Ebay, and dump all these redundant, carpet-bagging Executives in charge of freeloading !  

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

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

Wed Jul 31 18:17:28 2013

@ monkey

What Burke's comments about item specifics should be telling everyone is that these "improvements" are at best illusory and ebafia will continue to allow negligent, inattentive, and sometimes criminal buyers and ebafia itself to continue abusing sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 19:10:00 2013

"In the introduction, Jim "Griff" Griffith said it was the first update in memory where there's really no bad news. "

that would probably be because all the bad news comes in "non release" changes.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 19:44:08 2013

Call Me Ismael---

Well we all know how THAT ended.

There is no such thing as "Seller Protection" on ebay.  Never has and never will.

Bringing out the droid to run his programmed response--Oh if a BUYER (sound of trumpets and a rain bow WITH a unicorn) says that there is a BLEMISH that the seller never even noticed (because you would have needed a scanning electron microscope to see)  and the bad evil no good rotten seller did NOT make an "Item Specific" for that very purpose---

Well then!  The buyer will get the item;  the money;  AND the chance to once again trash the seller who allegedly did not live up to "Best practices".

I HATE the term "best practices".

Apparently Brian did not attend the same schools I did where a NEGATIVE was one thing and a NEUTRAL is something completely DIFFERENT.

How can we trust some one like this?

And--is the NEXT roll out to grade us on the "Item Specifics" part?

Can't tell you how many times I see items with NO Item specifics filled out---and how many times I dutifully DO fill them out extensively and yet get notices that I FAILED to do this--but never any HINTS as to which item and what I failed at.

Are the actual DESCRIPTIONS going to be done away with?  Cause I can see this coming.

Some sort of roll out where they decide it is ONLY a "mobile world" and where actual descriptions are irrelevant.  

Isn't it time some one ELSE had a crack at on line auctions style selling?

Hello?????

In another life I rode and trained horses and there is something known as "Setting the bar too high".  

When a horse is out to a fence  that is too high they will either attempt to jump and fail to achieve the lift needed and crash;  or they will refuse the jump and cause the rider to be come unseated and possibly injured or killed.  Remember Christopher Reeve?  That is what happened to Superman.  

Ebay is taking great delight in adding bar after bar to these fences.  Something has to give.  

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 21:46:57 2013

Basically.....these new feedback policies are still weak.

I find it....odd.....that they leaked to Ina that they would remove feedback where the buyer left a positive but left negative DSR's....and then they somehow changed their mind on this (a change I'm sure they thought out over several months) in the course of days once it was actually announced.

Now they are saying you still can't even find out who left you bad DSR's. The new policy has NO TEETH.

And now....we have to basically add 50 item specifics on in order to get feedback qualified for removal as opposed to the lazy a** CS reps just reading the description. No, we actually have to DOUBLE POST information in both item specifics and the description....it's ridiculous.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 22:38:20 2013

What happened to Matsura?
We want to ask HIM some questions.
For ebay to continue to stick out DIFFERENT PEOPLE as TOOLS is no good.
How come Matsura did not make theis ''announcement'' or do this ''interview''?????
Mass Howler

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

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

Wed Jul 31 23:25:06 2013

Poor Rich Matsuura or whatever his name is. He didn't make this announcement because he's just window dressing ebafia trotted out to create large, suffocating billows of smoke a few months ago.

Matsuura has no authority to do anything and quite likely has to ask Burke before going to the men's room.

HRH Brian Burke decides everything, and he established himself a long time ago as being a prime enemy of non Diamond American sellers.

It would appear that Matsuura is too young and inexperienced as of now to effectively lie and distort as well as The Ho, Wenig, Brian Burke, et. al.

But give Matsuura time. He's being tutored by masters of deception.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 1 08:56:47 2013

The whole ebay corp is becoming one big joke.  I have to assssume that the execs and board do not take the job they have seriously. It's just a paying game to them, get bored easy and ''lets see who can come up with the most ridiculous change''.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 1 09:39:01 2013

This is such a waste if time and money for our company. We have done eery thing that ebay has requested over the years. We don't get paid for any the changes and we continue to be a TRS Silver Power Seller.

There is no hope for us as long as we have to ship 3000 miles. Every year we see increases in postal rates and every year we have more and more buyers that buy from us because we offer deep discounts on ebay. Each year more buyer are giving us 1 DSR because the feel shipping is not very reasonable. The buyers are not bad they are being honest.

Why would ebay continue to make us leave ebay? We have thousands of happy buyers. In December we received over 1000 positive feed backs. When we leave the products we make or distribute will no longer be found on ebay. Many of the manufactures we have supplied products from have now sold Amazon because they could not afford to sell on ebay because they had to protect the gift market.

If something does not change with the shipping feed back system it is going to hurt ebay far more than many of the little things that ebay wants to play with.

Shipping cost is not reasonable and neither is gasoline. You would not close the gas stations just because 1% or 2% of the people said it was not reasonable.

It is wrong to close some of the stores on ebay because they have to ship coast to coast.

No seller makes the buyer buy from them, just like no gas station makes people buy their gas from them. Why should ebay punish sellers for something they have no control over?

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Aug 1 21:19:40 2013

Whew! With every new eBay announcement... and every bit of eBay back-tracking, I breathe a sigh of relief that I'm no longer wrapped up in that mess.

It was bad when I finally decided to break my addiction to eBay... but I didn't realize how much worse it could get.

As a former abused spouse (in a ''previous life'') I really do understand how people can feel as though they have no choice but to remain with their abusers. Fear of the unknown, belief in their own worthlessness, believing that this is as-good-as-it-gets and that any change would make matters even worse.

It makes me sad to think of how many people are stuck in that same rut and belief-system when it comes to eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Aug 2 13:49:39 2013

Why doesn't Ebay address the faulty communication channel between the seller and the Winner who is paying by Postal Money Order ?
I want to see the address I'm sending my payment to on the Pay Now page. Not to include this vital piece of information is COUNTER INTUITIVE.
And Ebay is negligent and guilty of Interfering in a Business Transaction by its ommision.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 2 14:57:27 2013

Am I the only one here who thinks this is all so GD silly?  Maybe I'm just too adult enough for Ebay's childish managment!

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 2 17:16:22 2013

I don't see any benefit ebay is offering with the new feed back changes.

As a seller what did we do wrong?

1. ebay processes the buyers order.

2. Buyer notices they did not updated their address with ebay or PayPal at time of purchase and updates address at time of payment thinking every thing will be OK.

3. ebay does not let seller know of change of address and seller ships order in one day to wrong address. ebay says it is against their policy to give out buyers address.

4. Buyers gets upset because they do not get their order and gives seller negative feed back.

5. ebay new policy say seller has to spend additional time and money to contact buyer who is already mad and tells seller they did update address with PayPay and call seller every thing in the book.

6. Now seller contacts ebay for feed back removal and that takes additional time to try to find out why ebay did not contact seller with new address change. ebay removes negative feed back.

7. Buyer looks at their dashboard and see that they received several 1's in their DSR and wants them removed.

8.Customer Service tells seller that buyers have the right their opinion. They tell seller that it may not be from the upset buyer.

This is not much of an improvement.

What can a customer of ebay do to prevent this kind of treatment. It looks to our management that ebay wants sellers to leave. This is an example of mismanagement from the top to the bottom.

Should a seller really have to pay for this kind of service?  

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Fri Aug 2 19:40:26 2013

eBay desperately needs those FVFs! Why else would they be flooding the site with free listings? So, the way for you individually to get the favorable notice of eBay, is to start bidding on your own stuff and get your STR up from the now normal ~5% to the (faux) rate of ~75% (similar to that of she who cannot be mentioned) …

Regardless, as I have oft said elsewhere, as the eBay marketplace continues to atrophy and as the much-abused remaining sellers become more and more desperate, more will probably start bidding on (and buying much of) their own stuff—if they aren’t already doing so. The problem with that business plan is, they will soon enough realise that they are paying the “master fraud facilitator”, eBay, more in selling commissions than they are themselves making, and about that same time the “penny will drop” and they will dump eBay, as eBay long ago started dumping on them, and the eBay “house of cards” will then start to implode, with a long slow “fizzzzzzzzzzzzz”. Indeed, if you listen closely, you should be able to hear the hissing sound of hot air already escaping from the eBay Dept of Spin …
In the meantime, “The band continued to play on, even as the bow dipped lower and lower.”—The Titanic/eBay Story ... http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: ebay for dummies This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 6 21:06:25 2013

Why do these changes even matter whether or not they're good for sellers or bad?? The question should be is: "Are you making making money selling on ebay anymore??"  The sellers who post here seem to be pretty intelligent, hard working, and resilient like myself and at this juncture it's pointless to even complain about ebay anymore because it has become a profitless platform to sell on period.  I bet none of you posters are making any money selling on ebay because I know I'm not.  What once was is no longer and never will be again.  All these comments posted here about ebay are negative and at the very best a neutral comment from a newbie who obviously hasn't been around the block enough times. I sell under 6 different screen names to 6 different demographics and sales are dead.  We all need to concentrate and identify a new selling platform that will satisfy the needs of the seller.  The time has come.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 11 11:07:47 2013

''Ismael: Every seller encountered a situation where PayPal puts a hold until an item is received. Sometimes it's a number of days while PayPal investigates. There's a hold on that payment so the seller doesn't ship the item.

That can result in a frustrated buyer. If the buyer leaves negative feedback, we will protect the seller. ''

Okay wait, don't they TELL the buyer their payment is on hold? Gee I would absolutely be certain they DON'T. In the last 12 months we've had at least 10 payments like this, not ONCE did the buyer know there'd be a delay. THAT IS ON PURPOSE, knock out one more discount, hee hee, say the juvenile morons over there.

And the part about ''we will protect you if you refuse to ship to an e-mailed new address.''

GIMME A BREAK. That should have happened way way back in 2003. IT'S ILLEGAL to change the address after someone pays for it, in all 50 states.

You must refund the buyer and have them pay again with the RIGHT address. This is so that no one can steal your card, pay with the billing, and then have it shipped somewhere else. THERE IS NO RECORD of where the item went. Makes it tough for police to arrest the thief. And yet ebay says it's the ''right thing to do'' to help you when you refuse to break the law. Cripe sake, if you get caught doing this and it's a stolen card, you are complicit in helping the scammer. Okay and what's to stop me from sending it to myself?????

Jeez, they just this spring decided to tell buyers they can't ask you to help them avoid VAT tax.  

Let's clear up one thing:

The ''right thing to do'' is level the playing field for everyone, and stop this ''punishment and reward'' system altogether.

They've already lost 90% of the collectibles market. As is evidenced by several letters above, sellers are fed up with the constant changes, tweaks, and border color changes, redesign of the selling page, etc.

FIX THE SITE, OKAY? The item condition doesn't even show on active anymore, what, that's not important anymore???

People are tired of having an e-commerce ''partner'' that seems to enjoy finding ways to PREVENT you from selling.

When is the last time they e-mailed you a HOT LIST?  So you know what to acquire and then sell???  I don't think they even understand that when we make money, they make money. They're so focused on this idiotic reward and punishment system they've taken their eye off the ball.

This is all BS lip service to make you think they care. They are just putting their fingers in the dike.

And if they really wanted to do ''the right thing'' they would go BACK about 2-3 years, and re-invite sellers who ended up kicked off due to 1-2 bad marks.

Coulda shoulda woulda, bet they won't. Any takers?

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 11 11:32:10 2013

PS MING you missed your calling.

You are hilarious, and brually honest. Those doofuses should hire you (yeah in a perfect world) to straighten out their act. Awright I can DREAM can't I??

Which they will never do until the very bitter end, when only the big retailers (who hated ebay for 10 years, and cannot wait to see the end of 'em) and Chinese sellers are still hanging on.

They are like the "Emperor has no clothes" story.

Let anybody tell them why they see
Amazon up 22%
Ebay up 14%

and they fire them, demote their seller rating, or just ignore them.

It's called denial.  

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: Eric Saeger This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 20 15:38:30 2013

There's an actual "Manager of Feedback" position in this stupid company?  Our overcharged fees go to pay a "Manager of Feedback" and the people under him?

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

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

Fri Sep 20 05:49:32 2013

Hi, like we all know, Ebay is giga-business and they are trying to be good both to seller and buyer. Feedback leaving problem is very hard and old. I recommend only to use proven methods for feedback removing or deleting.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: fed up with ebay policies This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 3 12:00:11 2013

the buyer is very much active to give negative feedback, but to give positive feedback they are lazy and take it very easily,

we have sold more then 700 jacket in 20 months, only 230 gave positive feedback 7 gave negative feedback, but rest all the buyer might be happy (our mail from buyer, she is happy & will give positive feedback but not yet given the feedback), or do not know how to give feedback, or they might have found that they have selected wrong size and return of parcel would cost them more so they have not given any feedback.

what ever may be the reasons but this is effecting our store reputations.


if you would have count the number of products sold,

DSR: total transaction – negative(693) / total number of transaction (700), that would be 99%

so this would not have hampered the sales & not the reputation of our store.

Buyer will understand that the seller has low negative feedback as compare to sales done

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