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Mon Dec 30 2013 17:19:57

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Seller

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
About a week or so before Christmas I had a strange experience with eBay removing a valid negative feedback comment I left for a seller regarding an item I had bid on shortly before Thanksgiving. The seller sent me a very rusty, abused tool that did not match the clean rust-free tool shown in the listing photo.

When I contacted the seller, he was extremely abusive and accused me of all sorts of things. When I filed a claim, somehow the escalate case button never showed up and I had to call eBay to move the claim process along. The Trust and Safety person I spoke with took care of it and said it was probably a system bug. He recommended that I still leave feedback for the seller, which I had already intended to do.

Before leaving feedback, I reviewed the current feedback policy to make absolutely certain the feedback I left would not be removed because after my experience with the seller, I thought he might try something. A few days after I left feedback, I received an automated message stating that due to a recent case, eBay had removed the feedback I had left.

I called eBay and after speaking with two people in Trust and Safety, they agreed that the removal of the negative feedback was invalid. One further explained that the seller had called eBay and had somehow gotten someone else in Trust and Safety to remove the negative feedback (I also found it extremely unusual that they disclosed this amount of detail to me). They said it would be reinstated and that the entire thing would be investigated.

As of now, they still have not restored the negative feedback I left for that seller and I've received no further communication from eBay.

The seller in question has no other negative feedback in his profile, which makes me wonder if he may have done this with other negative feedback he received. Have you heard of this happening to others and what should I do next?
A.




Comments (17) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

by: pcwnow This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 30 17:52:16 2013

There's probably a lot of heinke stuff going on right now with Feedback. I had to call in today to have a Neg removed on an item that was delivered but the buyer said they never received (and they opened a case to boot). The rep was real nice and I always find a little flattery goes a long way. He finally got pretty chatty and said they've been getting unindated w/calls for FB removal, mainly from all the shipping delays this season.

He also said ebay is supposed to be working on some sort of amendment to the FB removal policy that benefits buyers b/c of all the shipping delays but couldn't really give me any details. Said it's supposed to be coming soon......we'll see.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

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

Mon Dec 30 19:13:25 2013

eBay is a house of cards. And as the old saying goes, the house always wins. eBanged!

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Mon Dec 30 23:50:09 2013

OP. Did you leave out information? What was the disposition of the case you opened? If it was found to be in the seller's favor, the feedback would be removed.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

by: JusMe This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 00:25:16 2013

OP, 'What should you do?'
Nothing.
A seller with Zero negative Feedbacks seems pretty good to me.
Maybe something WAS wrong on your end?
Did you tell everything?
It's HIGHLY unusual that a seller gets negs removed. So, that gets me thinking....  

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

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

Tue Dec 31 02:01:27 2013

Years ago I bought something on a small site. the owner of the site himself sold under several different names, I guess to make the ghost town look busier, but they had a book I wanted. The business was located about 60 miles from where I live so I figured I would get the item quickly and could repost it for sale on ebay where they were flying out the door. Well, I kept waiting, sent emails and finally after 4 weeks they shipped. Of course by then their popularity had run its course. I could have walked with my artificial knees and picked it up quicker. I left negative feedback as you can imagine. Interestingly enough a couple weeks later with it gnawing at my brain so I went to see if the seller had responded to the negative. Nope, but I had obviously bought something from the owner under one of his aliases, as he had completely REWRITTEN the feedback and changed it to be a neutral and stated that I was now happy. Wonder how he could know that since I wasn't??? I realize on ebay it isn't the site owner that changes feedback, but I don't think all feedback weirdnesses aren't always missing the full story. Sometimes it is just weird.

PS the site I had mentioned went down the tubes.I also noticed that the owner that decimated our local FOL book sales so that even if you got there 10 minutes after the door opened they would have scooped all the good book categories off the tables. That really made me not like him as that wasn't acceptable behavior in our small town. Shouldn't be, but I was happy to see him gone as he wasn't a nice reseller no matter in what situation I found him.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 02:13:57 2013

The "rumor"  for YEARS has been that ebay will remove ONE Neg Feedback per seller IF the seller calls and cries to them.  And IF they don't have a pattern of this.

If this is true than this might be what happened to the OP.

However---I had a similar incident and the FB went POOF so===and the CSR admitted that the person HAD several bad FB's but I could see NONE of them.  

I personally think ebay plays fast n loose with a LOT of feedback.  Using the "Dartboard"  system.  Today it might be YOUR turn.  

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Dec 31 03:30:48 2013

@comet

I've been around a LONG time and I've never heard that.  Now buyers can get their first unpaid strike removed with just a phone call.  They don't even need an excuse, all they have to do is ask.  But I have never known a similar policy for sellers.

**************
OP
It is not an easy thing for a seller to get FB removed by calling in.  Somehow, someway they found some type of policy issue.  Especially now since you've called to try and get it re-instated and it hasn't.  They somehow found a policy reason to remove it and keep it gone.

That doesn't mean the seller was right and as a seller I am sincerely sorry you were treated this way.  It just should not have happened.  You should have received what you ordered and the seller should never be verbally abusive to you.

Without knowing exactly how your FB read, it is hard to try and figure out with any accuracy why it was removed.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 07:04:51 2013

Had one removed from China. Sent wrong item and it cost more to return than I paid for it. ebay was of no help to me the ''buyer''. I had to learn the hard way to not buy out of country especially CHINA. They must be the preferred sellers with ebay.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Dec 31 08:00:02 2013

OP says: "Before leaving feedback, I reviewed the current feedback policy to make absolutely certain the feedback I left would not be removed because after my experience with the seller, I thought he might try something."

OP, it actually occurred to you that the feedback might be removed, even before you left it?  What prompted that thinking?

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 08:27:22 2013

As I read this, I was wondering if the OP's name is Beverly.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

by: unusual1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Dec 31 14:50:40 2013

I also had negative feedback removed for an item I bought that was not as described and sent to the wrong address and refused a return or refund. It was in such bad condition that when I tried to donate it they refused it - didn't want an expensive repair to get it to work.

There is NO buyer protection - that is a joke and NOT as advertised. I couldn't return, couldn't get a refund. It cost me over $100.00 in repairs to get it to work, that's after I did most of it myself.

Ebay removed the negative feedback and basically told me to get lost. The seller refused to admit it had been sent to the wrong address or that it was corroded from top to bottom or that it was broken in two places and needed a total overhaul.
So much for buyer protection, this seller also has 100% positive feedback which has to be positively incorrect.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Dec 31 19:46:03 2013

@unusual1

Was it shipped to the address on the PP payment at the time you submitted it to your seller?  Or was there an error and you had not updated PP or needed to change the ship to address for whatever need you had at the time?

It may not be a reason you agree with, but it really is dependent upon what you wrote when you left that FB.  No one here can accurately suggest to you what happened without more specific information.

But what I can tell you is that is is NOT easy for a seller to get FB removed.  It never has been.  They will NEVER remove it just cuz we asked.  That is absolutely not happening.

So if you want an opinion on how this transpired, tell us more specifics.  Exactly how your FB read and the address questions I asked earlier in this post.

I am more than willing to try and help you understand what happened.  Doesn't mean it was right and certainly the seller should have shipped you what you purchased, but I'm just trying to help you understand how the FB removal may have happened.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Tue Dec 31 22:00:44 2013

"As of now, they still have not restored the negative feedback I left for that seller..."

And they never will...

"He finally got pretty chatty and said they've been getting unindated w/calls for FB removal, mainly from all the shipping delays this season..."

eBay created the feedback DSR Frankenstein's monster; let them hire a raft of people to deal with its rampages.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

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

Wed Jan 1 00:45:06 2014

Oh well, it could be worse, such people could be running the country. Oh, hang on, I think that the likes of Johnny Ho are running the country! Best we start wearing out life jackets 24/7 ...

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

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

Fri Jan 3 00:23:35 2014

Me thinks we are not getting the whole story.
MH
Mitt R. would have been much worse- I would be living in my car now instead of in my dark house with no heat or groceries.
Talk about a BAIN world- not to get into politics- sorry. I just hope that Prez. O is just keeping his enemies close, I hope.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

by: A. This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 06:02:39 2014

@WOODJUNGLE

eBay found in my favor. They reviewed the case while I was on the phone with them when I called after the escalate case button never displayed. It took them awhile to read through the case history and eBay messages.

The seller's replies and messages were so abusive that there really wasn't any doubt as to what he was up to -- he was incredibly angry that he got caught sending me a rusty tool in poor condition when the listing photos showed a nice clean tool.

The seller's initial reply was he had ''relisted'' the tool. When I mentioned the photos not matching the item he sent was against policy, his response was that he didn't send a rusty tool at all and demanded that I send him photos. He got progressively more and more abusive, later accusing me of using the tool and then trying to return it, etc.

I had to buy another identical model tool from a different seller and the person who reviewed the case could see that. For that fact, he could probably see from my past purchase history that I regularly buy used/new/surplus tools and that I rarely have to send one back to a seller.

====================

@JusMe

I agree, it does seem highly unusual, which is why I wrote Ina.

In a follow up email with Ina I mentioned that there didn't seem to be anything unusual about the seller. There are lots of other sellers who sell these sort of used tools and nothing about the seller stood out. He has over 1,000 positive feedbacks so I certainly wasn't expecting a bait-and-switch.

The photos of the other tools he had listed all looked clean and appeared to be photographed by the seller himself. Nothing about the photos looked stock or photoshopped and the photos were not taken from the tool manufacturers' sites.

The shipping carton hadn't been tampered with so the seller really did send me a rusty, abused tool.

====================

@Moonwishes

That kinda reminds me the ''auction'' site Bargainland launched after eBay gave them the boot. There was _a lot_ of hinkyness going on there...

====================

@Marie

Trust and Safety stated unequivocally that the feedback removal was invalid and that the feedback I left the seller was not in any way against policy. They had me on hold for awhile while they reviewed the feedback and got another manager to review it. They said that the feedback had been removed by another employee in Trust and Safety after the seller himself called in, that the removal would be investigated and that the feedback I had left the seller would be restored (their system just ''hides'' the feedback from public view, it isn't actually removed).

They stated outright that the seller had the feedback removed when he called eBay, and that it hadn't been done via email or an eBay form (I had asked if maybe he had done it via email or one of the semi-automated report forms). They further stated that if the seller had a history of doing this that they would suspend or cancel his account and that he would forfeit his listing fees.

The feedback I left was: ''Caveat emptor! Bait-and-switch - Photos of nice clean tool but sent rusty junk.''

My gut tells me the seller has likely figured out a way to game the system and has been abusing buyers for awhile.

====================

@Rexford

I had a past experience with eBay removing a negative feedback I left another seller more than 5 years ago. That seller shipped me a tool without a shipping carton and predictably it arrived broken. When I contacted him, he flat out didn't care that it was broken (he already had my money).

That item was not terribly expensive (under $150) but he was also regularly selling lots of ~$2,000-$10,000 high end precision tools. eBay at the time claimed that they removed the feedback due to a ''secret internal policy'' (that was their words, literally) and stated that the removal reason wasn't in the published feedback policy. I think eBay removed that one to protect a perceived ''high value seller''.

====================

@auctionguy

I'm not familiar with ''Beverly'' but Ina can confirm that I'm not whoever that is.

eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se   eBay Removes Negative Feedback Left for Abusive Se

by: blue7 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 27 07:49:42 2014

@A. 'The feedback I left was: ''Caveat emptor! Bait-and-switch - Photos of nice clean tool but sent rusty junk.'''

Aside from the fact that its much better to be very bland and terse in a negative feedback, ''bait and switch'' is accusing the seller of fraud in the legal meaning of the word.  Even if it may be true, e-bay will always remove such comments. I think its because an accusation of actual fraud or other illegal conduct against a seller makes it too easy for a seller to sue for defamation.

Also, what the seller did to you was not ''bait and switch'', which is slightly different scam.



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