|Tue Dec 18 2012 09:25:50|
Product-Safety Warning Exposes eBay Feedback Flaws
By: Ina Steiner
A warning to the public about counterfeit batteries is calling into question eBay's feedback rating system. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) issued a public notice to consumers on Monday pointing to a battery for sale on eBay listed by a top rated seller.
UL wrote, "the battery identified below bears a counterfeit UL Mark. This battery has not been evaluated by UL to any Standards for Safety and it is unknown if this battery complies with the UL safety requirements." It pointed to a listing by eBay seller thebatteryconnection.
Thebatteryconnection has sold almost 1200 of those particular batteries in "private" transactions - this page shows 100 of the latest transactions for that battery, but hides the buyers' identity. Private listings on eBay are more common for sensitive items than for commodities.
The eBay seller has over 600,000 feedback bearing the Top Rated Plus badge on its listings. It has thousands of items available for sale on eBay under 760 SKUs - those we checked had multiple quantities available.
Over the last 12 months, thebatteryconnection earned 232,828 positive feedback ratings, over 2,000 neutral and over 2,000 negative feedback ratings. The number of revised feedback is 932.
But despite the fact it has high DSRs and bears a Top Rated Plus badge on its listings, a look at the negative feedback ratings shows plenty of complaints from buyers representing purchases of a range of products sold by the seller:
"Battery is damaged/does not work. Doesn't respond to messages."
"Bad product, almost caused fire. never buy!!!!!!"
"they sent the wrong battery & then never answered my e-mail"
"The battery the sent would not hold charge for an hour.. seller doesn't reply"
"it is junk"
"Blew up within 5 minutes & then blw up my computer - BEWARE JUNK"
It only requires a miniscule number of negative or low DSR ratings for low-volume sellers to lose their Top Rated Seller status and even face suspension.
UL's warning points out that high-volume sellers can garner lots of negative feedback ratings and still be promoted by eBay as a top rated seller. It's clearly a numbers game when it comes to selling on eBay.