I have just come off the phone after an hour long call and being transferred to three different people to get a neutral and a negative feedback removed. We are a Top Rated Seller and have been selling on eBay since 2010.
This was my third call about the negative feedback where the buyer has left 12 negatives in the past 15 transactions, and 2 of the positives were where the buyer got refunded (so the sellers presumably bought the positive feedback) The past two times and countless reports had failed to get them to act and only this time did they agree to remove it.
The neutral was one where the buyer used eBay mobile to purchase - which does not automatically give the buyer all the listing information unless they click the links - along with a note that "could the item be shipped today for delivery by Friday".
When we received the order we noted his delivery request and due to fear of a late despatch defect if we had sent within our normal timescales (5-7 days and clearly stated on the listing), we sent it out that same day for delivery the next day - Thursday.
This is what we got from the buyer by email:
Thanks for the fast delivery. It's indeed thoroughly polished and clean. However the hoover isn't a customer return as you've stated in the description but a quite heavily used one judging by the amount of scratches and the rather loose clips that holds the motor housing and the bucket which could be caused by the cloth filter's rubber seal. I'm writing you not because I want to return it but just to advise you to make it very clear on the description that this is a refurbished used henry and NOT a customer return as the customers would think that it's a 15 or 30 days new unwanted and returned products. Regards
And our reply;
Thanks for your feedback. We have sold hundreds of these and do try to be as clear as possible. They are all listed as seller refurbished with the following description
"These are customer returns that have been professionally refurbished by us. Our refurbishment process, restores a used item to 100% working order. The machine is fully stripped, broken parts replaced, washed, electrically tested and polished. Filters are washed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Whilst we do make every effort to remove cosmetic marks it's not always possible to remove every mark. The key benefit of purchasing a refurbished item as opposed to a new item is the huge saving on the purchase price. If you can live with a few cosmetic marks, refurbishment is a very cost effective option."
We do appreciate it's difficult to visualise what a refurbished item will look like, which is why we specifically say about the cosmetic marks.
In respect of the clips they are all the same without exception, even on brand new models
The buyers final reply:
Thanks for reply. It's indeed working nearly as good as a new one but aesthetically looks like an used vacuum cleaner and not customers unwanted Christmas or birthday gift. Best Regards
The buyers Neutral feedback
Not a "customer return" Henry as claimed but a well used one. Not honest seller.
eBay have advised me that this is not eligible for removal as it's the buyer's opinion! I might add that this is exactly what they said to me about the negative feedback until apparently they decided that it was eligible for removal.
As a seller, what more can I do to ensure people read descriptions. I can't force them to do so, but still eBay feels this is a fair way to treat good sellers - allowing their feedback to be trashed.
I accept that there are going to be a percentage of buyers who do cause problems, but I would expect that if I have taken the time to call eBay and explain my genuine justifications for why eBay should protect my account, that those concerns should be heard and a sensible decision made.
I re-iterated all of this to the Appeals Representative from eBay and asked her what she planned to do when the next cull of eBay employees came along and her name was on the list. I explained that eBay needs good sellers who care about their customers to improve its reputation and by not supporting and actively rejecting their concerns, it was only a matter of time before they left.
The representative said that she "understood my concerns." Well, thank you for that eBay, I feel really reassured that you care!
There is a poll on one of the UK threads for small sellers, do you only buy, only sell and buy and sell. Most small sellers both buy and sell - when are the people at eBay towers going to realise that by culling - or starving cashflow - of small sellers so they leave, it also takes a swathe of buyers with it.
I for one would never buy on eBay again if I closed my account, I am sure I am just one of many, many thousands who feel the same.