Written by Cyn
Feedback is an issue that causes much angst to sellers both on eBay and Amazon. Many times the negative feedback left is irrelevant to the transaction especially when the buyer has not even contacted the seller. So I ask you – Is feedback even necessary in 2009? How many buyers even review a seller’s feedback? On Amazon the seller’s feedback is pretty much hidden, especially if the seller has the coveted “buy-box”. It is also extremely lopsided since so few buyers actually leave feedback on Amazon. On eBay many buyers do not understand the feedback percentages and don’t take the time to review the comments. This is obvious when you see a seller with 89% feedback, yet all their 99 cent junk auctions have bids.
So what other mechanisms could replace feedback and help reduce scam sellers? Both eBay and Amazon already have the mechanisms in place, they just don’t publish the information derived from these mechanisms to the buying community.
Amazon has the A to Z Guarantee and eBay has the Paypal SNAD and INR dispute consoles. Just these programs could be used to guage a seller’s trustworthiness. Yes, I know there are claims that are decided against the seller unfairly, but truely, if you are a professional seller what is going to be your percentage of these claims? It should be extremely low. By publishing the sellers number of transactions, as well as the number of claims decided against them, should be enough for a wary buyer to determine if they want to do business with the seller or not.
Or to take it one step further, the venues could be more responsible for their sellers. Amazon tracks A to Z claims, amongst other criteria, and supposedly takes steps to limit sellers who do not meet their criteria. eBay is attempting to do the same thing, but not with very good results. If eBay would focus more on their seller relations instead of on Worst Match, they could come up with a logical and fair way to rate sellers and determine which ones are not performing to expectations.
To sum it up – What do buyers want? They want to shop on eBay and Amazon and buy what they want and know they will receive what they bought in a timely manner. They want to trust that eBay and Amazon are offering them products from reliable, honest sellers. They don’t want to have to spend 2 minutes researching the seller before making a purchase. I believe that buyers want the venues to vet the sellers, not make the buyers do that themselves.
So do away with feedback, monitor the sellers, and let the buyers do what they do best – BUY!