eBay on BBC Watchdog 7pm tonight

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eBay have just given advance warning that BBC Watchdog will be featuring them this evening. It’s just over a year since the program last featured eBay which generated widespread criticism from eBay sellers who viewed the program as biased.

The previous program focused on counterfeit goods and gave the impression that all PowerSellers sold fakes, although Watchdog insisted their coverage was balanced.

Tonight’s program looks at the eBay feedback system, and in particular on instances where sellers have threatened to retaliate if given negative feedback or refused to offer refunds or replacements until buyers withdraw negative feedback that they have already left.

eBay state that they “Will endeavour to put the cases raised into context, and to take strong action against feedback abuse to prevent future publicity of this nature.”

Hopefully Watchdog will emphasise that instances of sellers using feedback in this manner is almost unheard of in comparison to the millions of feedback left on eBay each week, and especially that the sellers featured in the program aren’t typical of the thousands of sellers giving fantastic service to their customers.

Sadly programs of this nature have the potential to harm all sellers businesses, Watchdog would do well to inform their audience of how to buy and pay safely on eBay and remind buyers that feedback should only be left when they’ve resolved any queries regarding a transaction with the seller.

I’ll be very interested to see if they mention the opposite situation where a buyer threatens a seller with negative feedback to give a truly balanced program.

15 Responses

  1. Don’t they do this every year?

    You could be forgiven for thinking they had friends in the High Street… 🙂

    Seems a bit watered down this year, Ebay must be getting “cleaner” as this is not much of a story it would seem to me…

  2. Well, we should wait and see but I’m braced for the usual hysterical, flimsy, sensationalist crap that they usually come up with. The chances are (if past records are anything to go by) that it will be damaging to sellers in general.

    A researcher from Watchdog called me up asking for my views on the stuff they were planning to report and I was very concerned because Watchdog had already made up their minds and were looking for people who would support the editorial line they had already established.

    I didn’t agree with their analysis so I wasn’t much use to them.

    Looking forward to complaining again, if the need arises. 😉

  3. Must be bugger all news worthy around if they’re having to scape that far down the bottom of the barrell. Struth, just what we need this time of year.

    I know Dan’s right, they make up their minds on a story and try to fit so called facts around it. It happened several times over the years to a major company i use to work for.

    Having watched several so called news programmes in the past week about shopping on-line for Xmas there’s always a negative edge put on it by reporters, why. Sure beats the hell out of getting cold, wet, fed up, putting up with crowds of smelly people and getting £100 pick-pocketed which is what happened to me last time I went Christmas shopping. 🙂

    If only people used the same common sense when buying on-line as in the real world most of the problems wouldn’t exist.

  4. Too much to hope they would be investigating the scandal of eBay restricting UK item visibility worldwide……………

  5. It just makes me wonder if Nicky Campbell once had a bad experience buying on ebay and just wants to get his revenge on all sellers…

  6. AS an ebay buyer, I fully support Watchdog highlighting of this issue. I’ve recently received negative feedback from a Powerseller for refusing to return counterfeit branded goods to the seller following a refund (requested through Paypal as a dispute). Having been ripped off, I didn’t see why I should return the fake, possibly dangerous and certainly illegal electrical item to see some other mug taken advantage of. There was also a definite element of retaliation after leaving my negative feedback about them – the seller repeatedly asked me to withdraw my negative feedback about them before leaving feedback about me.

    What I’ve learnt from this is that you can’t trust Powersellers any more than other sellers on ebay – the Powerseller scheme is meaningless based on my experience.

  7. As my wife was abused by an arrogant seller on eBay and forced to withdraw her rightful negative feedback. I wish I had known about watchdog as I would have called them and given them facts about tjis kind of abuse!

  8. Having had dealings with Platinum Diamond’s alter ego, Jewellersbay myself, I can vouch for the underhand tactics and high-pressure techniques used. I too withdrew 4 negatives because is made a difference of £150 on my refund amount.
    However, at that time, Ebay weren’t interested in my complaint about the seller, as it didn’t fit their definition of ‘feedback extortion’.
    The programme last night was as all Watchdog articles are – highly focused on the rights of the little person and what bad corporations do to them. Agree that it would have been nice to see some more constructive tips on how to shop safely, use Paypal, read feedback details, etc.

  9. I would love to see Watchdog present a television show from the other side of the fence. What about the buyers who are abusive, threatening etc. What about the buyers who buy things and dont pay (currently 20% of our sales)?

    Oh thats right… The television show wouldnt be anywhere near as interesting.

    If you bought a T Shirt out of Pennys and found a hole in it when you got home, which was taken back and refunded/exchanged. Would you then daub the words “Crap seller cheap goods, wont use again” on their window outside? Will you also threaten them with loss of earnings because you just ‘had’ to take a day off work to go buy said T Shirt? No chances are you will be back there next week buying some new knickers.

  10. I’ve only had reasonable or good experiences if I have complained as a buyer. Nobody has ever refused to refund me (from an expensive Mac laptop to a cheap CD) and I have had no reason to neg anyone as a bad seller.

    In fact one time when I bought a CD described as “near mint” which was actually quite marked, the seller straight away asked me to return it for a refund, and when I did he sent is straight back again with a £5 note which covered not only what I had paid but my return postage, a letter of apology for mis-grading the CD, and told me to keep the CD “for my trouble”. (It played OK, I hadn’t complained about that, I only said that I was disappointed in the amount of surface marks on something he had described as “near mint”. But to be fair marks on CDs don’t always show up in poor light anyway).

    I thought that you couldn’t do better than that and gave him glowing feedback.

  11. Kate I agree – it’s almost unheard of for the situations a la Watchdog to occur. I’ve only ever received superb service from sellers on eBay when I’ve contacted them for help

  12. I am fed up with buyers not paying or contacting u, so when u have tried all avenues, and leave a negative to warn others that the person is a npb and didnt communicate, I get a negative calling me an “AH” have a look, what do ebay do about this.

    1. Dont refund your listing fees, except under specific relisting methods

    2. Dont remove the retaliatory feedback the buyer has left

    Ebay dont give a damn about the seller, they know the sellers will put up with crap, but if a buyer has a bad experience they might not come back.

    To top it off sellers have to wait to file an unpaid item dispute, then wait longer to close the dispute, what a farce

    Sellers lose money waiting, because they dont know if they can relist the item, because these timewaster buyers dont have the decency to respond

    Buyers shouldnt get 3 chances of unpaid item strikes, give them 1 strike then suspend them, for a month, max 3 strikes then kick them off ebay.

    I had flawless feedback up until a week ago, now I have 2 npb’s, and I dont want to leave a negative, because i already got 1 retaliatory negative because i told the truth.

    Ask ebay for help, u get a dumb automated message, or they dont read it right, ask them something they dont like and you dont get a response, try 8-10 times and u might get someone with common sense

  13. I always find it hilarious that when a buyer leaves a negative feedback it is righteous, and yet when they receive one in return it is unjustified.

    What do they think the seller is going to do, say “Thank you very much”?

    Just proves what gormless idiots populate ebay these days.


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