More eBay feedback


A recent Forbes items pointed to my earlier posts on eBay Feedback so I thought it was time to update them. Note also the eBay tag for all posts on eBay including comments on the new non-feedback rules.

I originally mused about blinding feedback or detecting revenge feedback. It occurs to me there is a far, far simpler solution. If the first party leaves negative feedback, the other party can't leave feedback at all. Instead, the negative feedback is displayed both in the target's feedback profile and also in the commenter's profile as a "negative feedback left." (I don't just mean how you can see it in the 'feedback left for others' display. I mean it would show up in your own feedback that you left negative feedback on a transaction as a buyer or seller. It would not count in your feedback percentage, but it would display in the list a count of negatives you left, and the text response to the negative made by the other party if any.)

Why? Well, once the first feedbacker leaves a negative, how much information is there, really, in the response feedback? It's a pretty rare person who, having been given a negative feedback is going to respond with a positive! Far more likely they will not leave any feedback at all if they admit the problem was their fault. Or that they will leave revenge. So if there's no information, it's best to leave it out of the equation.

This means you can leave negatives without fear of revenge, but it will be clearly shown to people who look at your profile whether you leave a lot of negatives or not, and they can judge from comments if you are spiteful or really had some problems. This will discourage some negative feedback, since people will not want a more visible reputation of giving lots of negatives. A typical seller will expect to have given a bunch of negatives to deadbeat buyers who didn't pay, and the comments will show that clearly. If, however, they have an above average number of disputes over little things, that might scare customers off -- and perhaps deservedly.

I don't know if eBay will do this so I've been musing that it might be time for somebody to make an independent reputation database for eBay, and tie it in with a plugin like ShortShip. This database could spot revenge feedbacks, note the order of feedbacks, and allow more detailed commentary. Of course if eBay tries to stop it, it has to be a piece of software that does all the eBay fetching from user's machines rather then a central server.


I googled "ebay feedback" to see if it was a well-known fact that the eBay feedback system really doesn't work, or if I was the only one who had noticed.

It really sucks, because I want very much to keep my 100%, so even if I encounter a horrible seller, and I really want to warn people against them, there's really nothing I can do. I haven't had a bad buyer yet, but I'd be scared to leave one of those negative feedback also, so I'd probably just endeavor to get my final value fee refunded and leave no feedback and hope they wouldn't either. I sure wish there was some way to make it better, because no matter how good a seller you are, someone who doesn't care as much about their feedback score as you do can rather easily ruin what you've work so hard to maintain.

Your ideas are good, but it seems to me that there would still be a problem because of the fact that some people care hugely about their feedback score and really want to keep a 100% or as close thereto as humanly possible, while others have less to lose, or think they do anyway, or for whatever reason simply don't care as much about it, and those people are therefore much less restrained, less judicious, and much more likely to leave negatives frivilously, callously, carelessly, out of spite, etc....because you didn't do what they wanted or give them what they wanted, or because you rightly objected to their improper behavior. It just feels so unfair that you can rather easily get stuck with a negative even if you haven't done anything wrong!

Many sellers are extremely conscientious and care very much about doing things right, but there are others that care most about making a buck and less about anything else, and these sellers figure as long as they keep their 98% by doing the minimum possible to keep most people reasonably happy, if a few brave customers do try to warn others by leaving a negative, they figure their negatives won't count for much in the long run, given an overwhelming number of positives. I'm dealing with one such seller right now, and it's just made me very upset and made me realize how much the system doesn't work, how there's no way I can warn others without risking a negative I don't deserve and want desperately to avoid.

I've had one idea which is that I could get a second account for buying purposes. I could still buy with my main account from people I already trust or who I can determine are nice people and good sellers, but if there's any doubt, I could just use the backup account and then whatever happens at least there'd be no threat to my reputation. Of course there's still the threat from careless, clueless, and/or unscrupulous buyers, but some people do manage to keep their 100%s even with thousands of sales, so I'm just going to keep hoping I will be able to also.

One thing I think eBay should definitely do is to not allow a buyer who has not paid to leave feedback, but they don't seem to take any action in that regard.

It does seem unfair, at least from one perspective, the way most sellers make buyers leave their feedback first. Sellers feel it's necessary to protect themselves at least somewhat from those few bad buyers I mentioned above (although it's not foolproof, because of course those buyers may just not care very much about their own feedback!). But on the other hand, buyers with legitimate complaints really are left with very little recourse.

I wonder if it wouldn't be better to simply allow people to leave comments with no ratings and no scores. Then you would just have to read and judge for yourself whether there were legitimate complaints against someone or not...

Well, I think not allowing any feedback (pos or neg) to a neg feedback certainly eliminates revenge feedback. It doesn't eliminate negative feedback of course. Nobody wants to eliminate that, though I think everybody would like more information about negative feedback.

As most ebayer's know, the positive feedback is largely noise. It's full of overly glowing comments. What you really care about when you read the feedback profile of a person is the negs. eBay does not want you to see just the negs since they want you to feel it's safe to buy on eBay.

What eBay can do is tell you more about the negs. They are now dividing buyer/seller which is good. They also should show it by dollar volume, and show which portion of the negatives come from brand new users or de-registered users. (They flag when a user is no longer on ebay but don't count them.) They could even note the important difference between voluntarily deleted accounts and forcefully deleted ones. In fact, all feedbacks from a forcefully deleted account should probably vanish.

These are not necessarily new ideas. People have done research on reputation sy systems for some time, which eBay mostly doesn't apply. On the other hand, they have the only real working reputation system of any scale.

I am a long time buyer and seller on EBay While not always happy with the feedback system, I see the value of it both for the seller and the buyer. Both, especially the seller, want to keep their feedback records 100%. After much thought, I have come up with what I think is the best answer for all concerned:
Eliminate all negative feedback, leaving only positive feedback for both buyer and seller. Should either be unhappy with any aspect of a transaction, what they would do is leave their email instead of a negative. It would read: (comment & email address), to clarify that I am saying: where it would have previously been a red mark and comment, now all that would appear is the word "comment" plus the poster's email address. The receiver, whether buyer or seller, could respond (if they chose) with the same (the word "comment" plus their email. What is the effect of this? Now the problem is out of Ebay's hands and is between the buyer and seller. They could resolve it between themselves and mutually remove the comment or not. A buyer or seller seeing the comment on the others record, could email them to see what the problems was and email the other party to hear their side. In all probability people would not post "comment" unless they were really concerned about what transpired in their transaction. This system would be equitable for all concerned and would eliminate the negative aspect of the feedback system while providing a way for both buyers and sellers to obtain the information they need to deal on Ebay if it is worth their time to do so, and if it isn't, not to worry.
I see great benefit to this proposal and I see no drawback. Please let me know what you think of my idea and if you like it, perhaps someone or several people could submit it to the appropriate person or persons at Ebay.........Tom

So, under your scheme:

1. I sell a widget and notify buyer it's shipped
2. on day 5, buyer starts asking where is package
3. on day 8, package I mis-addressed is returned to me by PO
4. knowing it may take 4 more days to get to buyer it seems I might get negative feedback over this (and deserved)
5. So, I leave negative for buyer "never paid"
6. buyer can't respond or retailiate, and my feedback record shows I am a great seller who doesn't tolerate non-paying buyers

As I noted, the fact you left a negative shows on your record, including your comment and the target's reply comment, which would be, "Are you nuts, I paid, no reason for this."

If you do this more than extremely rarely, it's going to show. But I agree that the question of preemptive negative may need more attention.

Some of those problems are solved by other "obvious" suggestions, such as automatic record of prompt payment for paypal users (or any other payment system willing to provide this data to ebay, ha ha.) Alas, eBay has not done much in that direction.

However, you do make me think of a related flaw, which is attack feedback. You find a seller you hate (ie. one who did a preemptive negative) and you do the same to them. You bid high on an item, and leave immediately neg. Again, this will show up in your record but the problem here is that you can potentially do it with a throwaway account.

This might suggest that blocking feedback reply would only apply to people with a certain feedback rating. That low-feedback users could leave a negative and still get a negative in response, but high-feedback users who leave a negative don't get a neg in response -- but it does go into their count of negatives-left, with comments.

The problem I experience with some sellers is this. They get too busy or forget about your order. I email them again and again and get no response. I left negative feedback for the seller (since I paid and never received item). Seller leaves intentionally false negative feedback for me ("No communication. Just send an email"). Then minutes later I get an email from seller asking if we can agree to mutually withdraw our negative feedback and he will ship the item (45 days later).
How about listing everything: Positive, negative, neutral feedback received, left, and withdrawn. Then others can be the judge. If you have received AND left 100 negative feedbacks and 97 of them have been withdrawn, something is fishy.

One caveat - I have sold a few things where the person who was the buyer had really insane spam filters, or worse, the Earthlink software where I had to "pass" in order for my email to be forwarded.

Just recently someone ordered an item from my, and sent increasingly vile and threatening emails when he "didn't hear back from me", you know, he'd have Mr. Visa, Mr. Mastercard, Mr. Cops and Uncle Sam on my tail.

Actually, I'd already sent him four emails trying to reach him. I finally had to leave a message on his voice mail - at which point he discovered that there were indeed, many emails from the past two weeks sitting in his spam filter.

Assuming that isn't the case...

Get a copy of the emails - including the headers - and then go onto one of the Discussion Boards for more help with that, try the Feedback forum first. They can help you find the best place for that and better yet, you'll help warn other people in the community.

With something that cut and dry - you've got his emails trying to negotiate after the fact - he will get in mucho problems with eBay.

Thanks guys. Im glad to hear Im not the only one to think that the Ebay feedback system has some pretty major flaws.

My problem is this...I am a buyer only and I have had a few sellers screw me over with items not as described and not arriving at all. ("Sorry it must have been lost in the mail??")! I pay immediately on winning the auction by PayPal and really my part is over right at this moment. I should really get positive feedback automatically at this point. It seems that every single seller (with a few exceptions) waits for me to give feedback first and thus holds me to ransom on my feedback, as if I leave negative feedback they are going to negative feedback me. I have paid immediately upfront and done nothing wrong! This is not right!

I hope Ebay change there system one day. There are a few things to learn from this though. Dont deal with high volume sellers if they have feedback less than 98%, and even then check the negative feedback only and very carefully.

Lost in mail is a tough one. It happens, though rarely. But it's a trivial thing to lie about by either side. In truth, if something is really lost in the mail and uninsured, neither side deserves to be out the money or to get negative feedback. But either side could also be lying.

The only answers, I suspect, for low-reputation users, are to only use shipment methods that include delivery confirmation, or to buy insurance which is often overpriced. This is where paypal shipping does have a big advantage, as it gets delivery confirmation very cheaply.

Doing a trackable method should be recommended standard course for sellers with under 50 transactions. After that you can be declared trustable enough to use untracked USPS.

Here is the URL:

This free, web based tool allows you to find and view negative, neutral, and withdrawn eBay feedback for any eBay user in the world. The tool is web based and requires you to install NO software on your computer, simply enter the URL in any browser and search for the user in question. Additionally the tool is written by a member of eBay's developer program and uses eBay's official API's to retrieve the feedback. This ensures that you are getting the correct and official eBay feedback. If you don't see the "right now on eBay" logo on a tool you are using, then it's not written by a member of eBay's development community!

Interesting. Toolhaus has had this tool for several years:

First off, the toolhaus tool is GREAT! Thanks so much!

Next - I am so mad at Ebay right now that I could spit fire. A young man just left me bad feedback that was a complete lie, spoiling my 100% positive (out of almost 3,000) feedbacks I've earned. Ebay reps? I tried to get them to see the injustice of this situation and remove the feedback, but that was simply 20 minutes of on-hold time and 5 minutes discussion time wasted. Their policy is basically that unless someone uses a curse or a racial epithet, the feedback stays. No matter how foul the lie, or how nasty the language, the feedback stays. I pointed out to them that a lie in feedback actually qualifies as LIBEL, since it is a lie in print, meant to defame a person. I might as well talk to a dining room table. (Thank you, Barney Frank.) I'm thinking that maybe it's time for me to find greener pastures at other online auction sites. Ebay obviously doesn't give a rat's tail about their users.

I didn't read all the comments completly but a simple solution could be. Both parties have 30 days to leave feedback and it is not visable to anyone untill both parties have left feedback or 30 days is up.After the thirty days if only one party has left feedback then only their feedback is shown and the other party is out of luck and also can not retaliate or post any reason or note.However the person who did leave feedback within the time frame (could also be both parties) is allowed one follow up note to describe the situation.

My spouse sells clothing via eBay, from the nature of this question you can tell I'm not all that eBay savvy, she recently had something lost in the mail (USPS). Am I correct in assuming that neither side particularly has any recourse in the event something is (claimed by the buyer)lost in the mail (thus the reason for buying insurance)? I assumed that it has to be a common enough problem that there would be some sort of channel provided by eBay for dealing with this sort of situation.

It actually isn't that common for well packaged and addressed mail. Unfortunately mail insurance is much more expensive than it should be, in part because of fraudulent claims. But today tech is quickly making delivery confirmation easier and cheaper, and this is one reason shippers go with UPS a lot. There just isn't usually a question.

Actually this does happen. Jody, has your wife filed a mail loss claim with the post office, which takes about thirty days, and politely negotiated with the buyer to please wait and let them search?

It's happened to me three times - once receiving a package from someone, the other time shipping to someone (needless to say the person sent her first email teeming with insults and so on... and like the other package, it was discovered languishing on a back shelf in a post office). The third time, my package was a return which disappeared on its way to Scotland, and a mail loss report did not find it - possibly because it had arrived in the worst of all black holes, a postal strike in Britain. Because of the time it took to file the mail loss (30 days), the insurance company (UPIC) would not honor the claim. So any items going overseas that cannot be easily replaced or risked need to go with trackable Global Express Mail.

If she's not doing this already, I would suggest your wife put tracking on everything she ships. Delivery confirmation is free with Priority Mail and for other formats, it costs just a handful of cents with PC postage like Endicia or; Fed Ex Home Delivery is a better deal with heavier packages than the $8 flat rate PM boxes.

Brad, I don't know why you're recommending UPS, as they tend to have a much worse reputation in this arena than FedEx - though nowhere near DHL/Airborne Express's issues. Many of the complaints are that a UPS driver left it with the wrong person at an apartment complex, didn't get a signature proving delivery, or that they tossed or threw a package where it got wet or misplaced (such as in a snowdrift). I kid you not - the stories are out there. There are a few websites created by people who work as independent contractors for the major couriers, and they are eye opening.

I believe that most of you leaving post (granted I haven’t read them all) are not seeing the true nature of the Ebay business transaction. Ebay makes all their money from the seller therefore...

Ebay doesn’t give a Rat’s Ass about you.

As long as all the revenue comes from the sellers the rules will always lean to the sellers favor. If a buyer, who has gotten screwed from a seller that pays lots of transaction fees, files a claim, ebay is certainly going to rule in favor of the one who pays it’s bills. The fact is that the reason Ebay has not revised it’s feedback policy is because it’s written to make them more money.

The only way Ebay is ever going to start treating buyers fairly is if it has to do so to outdo the competition. Seeing how there is no real competition a the present, the only true advice I can leave is for the sellers. Always pay your ebay fees for every transaction on time and it doesn’t matter if you ever ship anything to your buyers. Ebay will still be happy with you.

I agree with ebay not caring as long as you pay your fees. I have been cheated on ebay and I know others who have, BUT overall my BUYING experience has been MUCH BETTER than my selling experience with feedback. I have over 2000 positives and bend over backwards to may my buyers happy. My few negatives were TOTALLY unwarranted - minor problems with packaging/shipping and they never even wrote me to let me know. One woman claimed her package was soaking wet and I went to the trouble of calling her post office and they said if she would bring it in, they would file insurance claim and get her money back. She refused to do that and just wanted a refund. I just didn't think it was fair for me just to take her word for it and give her money without anyone seeing the wet item. Another one was a broken item that was insured, too. Instead of filing the insurance claim or contacting me for a refund, the lady just left a negative. I've had 2 or 3 other instances that were pretty much the same. One lady left one because she didn't get her item quickly enough and when I contacted her post office they said they had left notices for her to pick the item up and she never bothered. That was my fault, eh? I don't know. I just don't feel like it is fair and now people see my less than 100% feedback and they might not buy from me.

Your suggestions for a better feedback system are fascinating and could bring major improvements but we may as well discuss how many angels fit on a pinhead. Ebay aren't bothered. They're actually degrading their system to make it less transparent - witness the introduction of Hidden Bidder ID.
Try visiting that useful feedback aggregator mentioned above: The eBay developer is now forced to announce: "Sorry - eBay has requested that this site be shut down because it violates their feedback policy."

i agree with every comment on this page i hate the fact im scerd to leave a negative has im the buyer becuase of a nob.

why?- well i purchsed an item and it displayed next day delievery but to make sure i asked him when will i recive my item so would take one day to send and one day to my door but no reply so left him to it.
waited 3 days no item so i emiled the seller nicly and what did i get nothng but abuse saying i was threating him and saying payment didnt clear ect i emailed back but before that i checked to see if the monkey in my pay pal account was sent and it was now get this lmao

after checking pay pal i looked at his feedback all 100% (probly forced people) but i looked at his feed back has a buyer he purches summat straight after i payed for my item from him the exact amount i payed him a stupid modle airoplane ffs!.

so soon has i saw all that and geting abuse i got angry so replyed saying

"Dear windowseat2005,

actually it entered youR PAYPAL account on the 24th and secound i lost my password for my old account which has alot of happy people and recived my payments on same day end of that.
It wasnt aggresive, i was saying i EMAILED YOU AND YOU NEVER RESPONDED. paypal verified it was entered into your account.


if you read my message dose it have any CAPS AT ALL no! dose it have any abuse NO! is it a friendly question yes just like my first message. "

now that was me biting my toung lol
and it soon shut him up then becuase all of it was the truth.

end of my storey still makes me mad grrrr


Heres my idea of a good system.

there should be a site were you can enter a buyer and explaine why and the person running the sytem should look into it and allow it if the person desivers to be on there.

just like sites banning people for cheating on pc games the name them shame them system.

Ps- never bother with this person there a waste of time windowseat2005
pss- SOrry for my bad spelling i just got up and typed it all lol off to make summat to eat lmao thanks for reading

oh and if there is a sytem like the one i said drop me a line i would love to know

I say, do it in stages. Allow the seller x amount of time (thirty days, perhaps) to leave feedback for the buyer (or only allow positive after this point.) That gives a seller plenty of time to report a np or bitchy buyer. then give the buyer a turn to report a scammy or dishonest seller. This gives the buyer time to make claims if necessary and to leave feedback for dishonesty without fear of retaliation.

Much as sellers are complaining, I think many are upset at the loss of their ability to retaliate. much of the negative feedback I see on buyer accounts is due to seller retaliation not honest upset. I figure if a buyer is communicative and pays on time, they deserve honesty and positive feedback. Almost the entire time I've used eBay, sellers have withheld feedback until they get some from me- a practice clearly designed to keep open the retaliation option, which is disgusting to me. Ironically, those that left immediate feedback on payment almost always got a pass from me, even in cases where I really would have left a negative.

The above would require honesty from both parties but to make it even clearer, feedack displays should also give the ratio of transactions to feedack- ie, how many transactions to comments left. I've seen many 100% sellers who had pretty low feedack for their volume, which said to me there were unhappy customers in the wings who just kept quiet to avoid retaliation. Additionally, feedback from buyers and/or sellers who lost an official dispute should be removed.

But even things as they are are an improvement, if not entirely fair. So yes, there might now be fewer sellers on eBay, which might be a good thing, especially if it weeds out the high volume/low service sellers that clog up the pipes. I also would like to see less of the (up to now) current policies of "I'll charge whatever postage I want" and "if you don't get your package, suck it." EBay sellers should be held to the same standards as any other vendor and their feedback should be reflective if they don't comport themselves. The feedback of a good honest seller will reflect that despite any dishonest buyers.

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