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Mon Nov 15 2021 21:24:30

eBay Gives Sellers No Incentive to Help Unhappy Buyers

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
It's true, things sometimes go wrong when you're selling online, but these glitches can often be opportunities to delight a customer rather than have them go away frustrated. But eBay's recent feedback policy changes seem to prefer customers stay frustrated.

We recently received some poor feedback because the customer reported as item as not working. Rather than raise a case with eBay where we could address it, they simply left feedback. 

After contacting the buyer and willingly refunding their money (as we would have done if they'd raised a case), the buyer agreed they'd change their feedback.

I tried to send a feedback revision request, but it said I had zero available. So, the buyer contacted eBay and was told they couldn't change their feedback either (only comment on existing feedback). Subsequent communication with customer service garnered the following response along with a link to the feedback policy:

"The customer can only change a feedback if a feedback revision request is received by the seller."

Looking at the most recent feedback policy, it says that 

"For every 1,000 feedback ratings you receive during the year, you can make 5 additional feedback revision requests. However, these additional feedback revision requests don't carry over into the following year."

So, assuming a 30% feedback rate (not untypical), you'd have to sell 3000 items in a 12 month period to receive 5 revision requests. There are two problems with this. Many small sellers will never come close to selling 3000 items in 12 months. And for larger sellers, especially in the thrift space selling used items, it's not uncommon to have more than 5 issues with feedback over a 12 month period.

The policy used to be that if you and the buyer were in agreement, customer service had the ability to change feedback. Apparently this is no longer the case.

Taken together, this means it is virtually impossible for a seller to have ANY feedback revised even with the consent of both the buyer and seller. This leaves a perverse incentive for sellers to write off a customer once feedback is given rather than attempt to address their issue and make them satisfied. There's simply no incentive to do so.

eBay talks about a retail standard experience, yet continues to implement tone deaf policies that drive customers away from an otherwise great platform.

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Readers Comments

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by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 15 22:58:22 2021

With Ebay its all about the money they can make off of each and every seller.  So bad reviews being left along with other issues could cause a Sellers account to suddenly become eligible for Ebay to add that 5% surcharge which last I checked they keep even if the item is returned and the Seller receives a refund of their fees, less that 5% of course because that is a penalty charged by Ebay for allowing you to still sell on their site when in the old days the seller would have had their account terminated.    Once again Ebay looking for ways to increase their revenues even without the seller having made a completed sale.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 16 07:45:52 2021

“ There's simply no incentive to do so.”

Well, actually, (hopefully?) there is.  It’s the same incentive that existed - should always exist - before the transaction occurred - before any did.  It should have nothing to do with eBay or it’s perverted version of FB as a measure of worthiness.  Fulfill the contract. Service as agreed therein. Kissing cheek is optional.  Or should be, in a free market. Sometimes it can pay dividend though…

Meanwhile, +1 about the whole FB is misleading thing, sure.  It’s weaponized so eBay can generate income from the adverse affects it claims ‘bad’ FB represents.  Which might be true if the FB itself always was.  But which it isn’t because eBay contends it doesn’t matter.  And shame on them for continuing to allow FB to be a weapon of retaliation and exploitation despite all their hypocritical proclamations of such being only an “opinion”.  Sure seemed to be worthy of the most heinous of attention when it was opinion about eBay being expressed.

And no doubt the ‘used thrift’ market is (comparatively) chock full of buyers who it might seem feel ‘overly entitled’ considering they’re not patronizing a dust your shoelaces retail shoppe, nor paying anywhere near their “if you have to ask you can’t afford it” prices.  Though clothing and accessories might be even worse….  The inflexible support ‘sole’ eBay has cobbled together trying to cram variably sized CS feet into one size of jackboot has carelessly, foolishly, yet purposefully cast a trail of blistered sellers behind for years now.  Many who have walked in your shoes.

So there’s two kind of ‘incentives’ at play here, isn’t there?  One that ought to be organic, always set to please (reasonably), regardless of eBay.  However, reasonably, it might also require an assessment of - regardless of ‘marketplace history’ - why so much time and energy is being spent addressing FB?  Where are the complaints originating - their roots?  Why so many?

Which leads to the other driver.  If, after honest assessment, there’s nothing more to be done (reasonably), despite the drive to keep trying (evidenced by hanging for another quarter of hopefulness, properly genuflected), then questioning one’s ‘incentive’ to continue to support the ‘lies’, even as an ancillary buttress, needs scrutiny too.

Bottom line - you (collective) here to serve FB?  Or here for sales and the service that requires?  And if you can’t get sales because of the forked up FB, (assuming it really is), why you should continue is the ‘incentive’ that needs assessing.  

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by: Mazdaman This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 00:40:33 2021

Jeff is correct; we changed our "feedback left" policy to only leave positive feedback from those buyers whom have left US positive feedback.  While we work with all buyers whenever possible (and some just won't allow that until they NEED something beyond their purchase!), since we can't leave anything but positive FB for buyers, "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all".

The trend on eBay now is for buyers to completely avoid leaving ANY feedback unless they wish to harm a seller deliberately.  We suspect this started as a trend around 2008, when John Donahoe messed up the feedback system and removed the ability of sellers to tell the truth in feedback for buyers.  It backfired, and now we check the FB of EVERY buyer that even asks a question, finding some interesting things.

The complete absence of feedback left for sellers has shown us several buyers who were scamming eBay sellers.  NOT leaving FB for sellers - except when the seller doesn't kowtow to their whims or extortive statements - results in the buyer leaving odd negatives for sellers.  We've seen buyers with 50 FBs themselves leave 65% negatives for sellers, which to us provides more red flags than a Chinese parade, and we'll often block such buyers preemptively.  That's rare, but we've had perhaps 8-10 in the last 12 months, confirming their attitudes in our eBay Messaging "chats" to decide to block a potential customer.

The result of this and other changes we have made (defaulting to Priority Mail instead of First Class to avoid delays in the USPS, for example), has resulted in us having a 100% positive FB score right now.  Yes, we may lose some buyers, but they seem to be those we really don't want to deal with - "Karens", if you will.

eBay clearly has no intention of policing their buyer base or enforcing the policies they have, so we're the only ones we can count on to do so. ;-)

Perminate Link for eBay Gives Sellers No Incentive to Help Unhappy Bu   eBay Gives Sellers No Incentive to Help Unhappy Bu

by: Duper2019 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 18 09:03:17 2021

I recently sold something to a buyer that when they paid told me to pack carefully as they were then sending the item to China. They received the item, I assume in good condition and 3 weeks after I knew they had received it, they messaged me that it arrived broken. I asked them to send me a picture of the box and the shipping label. They didn't but replied that "American warehouses don't open the boxes". I knew what had happened, so asked again. A week goes by and they left negative feedback saying it arrived broken and that I never replied to them. Soooo....contacted eBay, let them know everything and they told me to request a removal. And hour after I did, they let me know that they were not going to remove it. That is was the buyers opinion. Really? Checking the buyers feedback left for others, they had left numerous negatives for the same thing. They were even called out about it from other sellers. I guess eBay would rather keep these kind of buyers then help honest sellers.  

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