How to Fix The eBay Feedback Fiasco

Written by Cyn

I applaud eBay management for taking steps to “fix” feedback on the site. The changes are in the right direction, but there are still some things that could be fixed to make feedback more fair for both buyers and sellers. After much thought, I agree with the proposal that sellers should not be able to leave negative feedback for buyers, IF the following changes are also implemented.

First, I propose that eBay do away with “neutral” feedback as it doesn’t do anyone any good. It is unfair to call something “neutral” that really doesn’t have a neutral effect. I understand that eBay feedback percentage is “Positive Percentage” which is why neutrals now effect the score. However, many neutrals are left as a form of communication rather than showing dissatisfaction on the part of the buyer, and therefore should not be used to penalize the seller.

Second, I propose that non-paying buyers be banned from leaving feedback at all. Isn’t feedback supposed to be only for members involved in a transaction? If an item is not paid for, that is NOT a transaction and therefore that buyer has no right to leave feedback. I understand that eBay cannot tell if a buyer has paid unless that buyer pays via Paypal. However, I propose that sellers be on the honor system to mark an item Paid in their My eBay when a buyer pays with a payment form other than Paypal. If an item is not marked as paid, the buyer would be unable to leave feedback. Should a buyer choose to pay with a method other than paypal, they will risk not being able to leave feedback if the seller does not mark the item paid. However, this would just be another risk a buyer takes when paying with other methods. In addition, it would encourage more buyers to use Paypal – and isn’t that what eBay wants anyway?

Third, I propose that for purposes of Seller Performance, feedback be based on all SALES rather than on all feedback left. This is how Amazon uses feedback. For Seller Performance, Amazon uses a negative feedback percentage that is based on ALL ORDERS. So a seller may show 96% on their feedback profile on the site, but for Seller Performance purposes, their negative feedback percentage may only be .08%. Amazon does not include neutrals at all in their Seller Performance figures.

Many happy buyers do not leave feedback at all and a seller should not be penalized because of this choice.

Fourth, a buyer should be given the ability to remove negative feedback. Amazon allows this and makes it very easy for the buyer to do so. When I receive a negative feedback on Amazon, I contact the buyer and work it out with them. Once the buyer is satisfied they then remove their negative feedback. Most buyers who leave negative feedback never contact me first. This gives me a way to resolve an issue and make the buyer happy. The way eBay has now implemented the feedback process leaves me with no incentive to help a customer who leaves a negative with no contact.

eBay – Great start – Now finish the job!


  1. John says

    I have to agree with your commentary… at first I was apprehensive at the thought of not being able to use negative feedback against bad buyers, but I realize that eBay’s admin team is there to root out the bad buyers when many complaints surface. At the same time though, while I’m required to leave positive feedback (or none at all), I’m finding that many buyers are not leaving any feedback whatsoever. I’ve been selling for a number of years and I still continue to see this happening (even after the feedback system changed).

    I really wish buyers were required to leave feedback, but your idea of mirror Amazon’s system makes sense if eBay does not require buyer feedback in their system (sometime in the future).

  2. Larry Prescott says

    I just experienced a very messy situation concerning ebay feedback. I sold an item and did not receive any payment or communication for over 10 days. I emailed the buyer several times with no response. I contact ebay to initiate the relisting of the item. Ebay must have contacted him and asked for a payment. I assume this communication was to the point. He paid and then contacted with profanity because I contacted ebay about the nonpayment. You can guess what happened next. He left bogus negative feedback that was just fabricated to make me look like a shyster. I contacted ebay to no avail. Sellers beware!


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