Feedback changes in 2008

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There are five key areas that feedback will be changing in the next few months

Repeat feedback

From February when a customer demonstrates they’re happy with your service by returning to purchase again from you it’ll be reflected in your feedback score. In mid February eBay will start counting repeat feedback from customers (one per customer per week) towards your total feedback score. Later in the year your entire lifetime feedback score will be recalculated which will inevitably increase many sellers feedback by a large amount overnight.

No negatives for buyers

When buyers receive what they regard to be an unfair negative they often reduce their buying activity on eBay or leave the site entirely. Buyers are just as precious about their feedback as sellers and often refrain from leaving poor feedback for fear of retaliatory feedback.

An important point is that leaving a negative or neutral feedback for a buyer makes no difference to their buying ability. Sellers don’t routinely screen buyers for poor feedback on auctions, and it’s impossible on fixed price listings. Losing buyers hurts all sellers more than is gained by leaving negative feedback.

The impact of not being able to leave negative or neutral feedback is lessened by some further steps eBay have taken such as….

Removal of negative and neutral Feedback

If a buyer is suspended or fails to respond to the Unpaid Item Process all negative and neutral feedback they have left will be removed from the site (not just de-scored as currently happens). Sellers should always open unpaid item disputes for buyers who fail to pay for items as this is the surest way of indicating to eBay that there has been a problem. Buyers who fail to pay will be given a strike and repeated strikes will result in suspension and all negative/neutral feedback they have previously left erased. Great news for sellers with neutrals or negatives from buyers already suspended – these will be erased in May or June this year. Following on the Mutual Feedback Withdrawal system will be ended.

Positive Feedback percentage

The feedback percentage will be based on the previous 12 months Feedback instead of lifetime. This is to give buyers a more realistic and recent appreciation of how a seller is performing today, rather than how good they were ten years ago. Total feedback will still be displayed, but old negatives (from more than 12 months ago) will no longer be counted when calculating feedback percentages.

Restrictions on when Feedback can be left

Buyers will no longer be able to leave negative or neutral Feedback for three days following a transaction. Also Feedback can be left for 60 days instead of the current 90 days.

This is great news for sellers who may have been affected by auction wrecking in the past, eBay will have more time to spot suspicious buying patterns, erase transactions and suspend offenders before sellers feedback can be affected.


I can’t help but think eBay are making the right changes here. If buyers buy less, or leave eBay entirely, just for receiving a single negative it can’t be good for anyone, not the buyer, not sellers and not eBay.

Sellers should remember to use the tools provided such as Buyer Requirements to control which buyers can purchase, and the Unpaid Item Dispute process to issue strikes to non-paying bidders. eBay have also in the announcement reinforced the message that feedback extortion will not be tolerated.

In the long term I’d expect feedback to more accurately reflect transactions, and inevitably this will mean a widening in the range of feedback left. Currently most sellers have near 100% feedback records, but in future a few sellers may find their percentage slipping. The good news is that with old feedback discounted from calculations some sellers, who have improved in recent times, will see their feedback percentage rise.

53 Responses

  1. I wonder how ebay are going to react to the posi-neg

    a positive with negative wording left by sellers

  2. As a long term ebay seller [nearly a decade now]

    I too think ebay might just have got this right,
    buyers can give as many negs as they like on any of my ids,
    I will just start afresh with a new one if it hurts too much

  3. I don’t think a negatively worded positive affects a buyer (or seller!) to anywhere near the extent waking up to a big red dot does.

    I think honest comments are fair enough, but if upsetting buyers with red dots drives them off eBay it’s too high a price to pay

  4. Agreed Chris,
    in general I think this is all good news

    I have no problem with any of it really,

    tell me does it really not hurt if you leave feedback first, do you feel ok, is there tablets you can take for the side effects

  5. It’s certainly bold, and there’s a lot to digest. I’d welcome a whole lot more commentary from eBay on justification (including more numbers and examples) in the first instance to help me understand the changes.

  6. the slight flaw in the thinking about negatives affecting buyers,
    Is I have a buying account or three, and I leave feedback as its deserved, cos I dont give a bugger about a return negative ,it dont stop me buying

  7. 🙂

    guess what I just got a £10 voucher from ebay today because they miss me on the community boards

    I now know I am out of my skull 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. Dear northumbrian,

    We’ve noticed you haven’t been visiting us as much as usual – we miss you! So we’re offering you £10 of delight to spend on anything you want.* But hurry, this coupon runs out in only two weeks! Tick tock…

    See you soon.

    The eBay Team

  9. Maybe I’m just a grumpy old curmudgeon, but I can forsee problems with these changes. On the face of it, I agree it’s a bad thing for buyers to leave because they have what they consider an unjustified neg, and I’m not in favour of ‘freeloading’. But seriously, who wants a buyer who is that precious about their feedback? Who wants to trade in an environment where a competitor can ‘buy’ from you and ruin DSRs and now feedback with impunity? I have a friend who is constantly plagued by a competitor who reports him for nothing at all; I suspect the said competitor will be rubbing his hands with glee at this latest announcement.

  10. Regarding repeat feedback, dont expect to see rapid changes.
    From Olly the pink.

    “Repeat feedback credit will be launching in February, and will not be retroactive. “

  11. I must admit, the bit that made me chuckle in this part of Bill Cobb’s announcement was “and we’re increasing Blocked Bidder Lists so you can block 5000 members”. Judging from the email I’ve received over the last week or two, blocking buyers upsets them EVEN MORE than negs do. 🙄

  12. North, you won’t be able to do this any more:

    northumbrian Says:

    January 14th, 2008 at 4:09 pm
    received a neg on another id today
    buyer moved house and did not update address, items missing, we are accused of all sorts of fraud and skullduggery,
    too right we retaliated and if it were to be removed by a bunch of ebay do gooders, we would not have been happy at all

  13. yep I wont,

    but to ebays credit they suspended this user and removed the negative they left quick as a flash

  14. I take it we will still be able to leave neutrals for buyers? It’s true that the only time I really look at a buyer’s feedback is when they don’t pay, but it is then useful to see whether they have a history of non-paying or it looks like a one-off. I must say I’m a lot less tolerant and won’t wait as long if they have several negs for non-payment. If they have great feedback then I send more chaser emails and wait longer in case they are genuinely ill or whatever.
    If we can still leave neutrals then they would still show up to anyone interested.

  15. No, Kate, no neutrals either. The idea is that buyers can’t build up a history of non-paying, because all sellers file UIDs for NPBs, so they can only get two before yours and they’re NARUed.

    (Do I get the prize for most acronyms in one comment? :-D)

  16. We won’t, but eBay will. If there’s a genuine problem, then they’ll pay eventually and we’ll reverse the UID strike. Just like we do now. I’ve got to say, I really like the idea that sellers will be encouraged to file UIDs rather than just negging and forgetting about it. It gets the real idiots off the site much more quickly.

  17. I am not interested in revenge or retaliation, I want buyers and money
    what gives me confidence in this feedback thingy
    is the fact there are those here, that always leave feedback on payment, which effectively self removes their right to leave negative, it seems to have done them no harm,

  18. North I’ve always done it out of choice, but trust me if you give decent service, which I know you also do, then there’s not a lot to worry about 🙂

  19. Sue, yes I spotted the bit about increasing BBL to 5000 and smiled to myself too 😀

    At least I won’t have to cull my list for the forseeable future 😛

  20. Correct me if I’m wrong on timescales here.

    30 Days to open a UID
    45 Days to open a paypal dispute
    60 Days to leave feedback

    Day 31 after transaction and the goods have been received, a paypal dispute is opened.
    Day 41 after transaction, the funds are reversed, and buyer leaves a neg out of spite.

    The seller cannot reclaim the fees, leave a npb strike or a neg to warn others.

    Thieves charter.

  21. Sue Bailey Says:
    January 29th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    We won’t, but eBay will. If there’s a genuine problem, then they’ll pay eventually and we’ll reverse the UID strike. Just like we do now. I’ve got to say, I really like the idea that sellers will be encouraged to file UIDs rather than just negging and forgetting about it. It gets the real idiots off the site much more quickly.

    A hell of a lot of the people that I filed the UID on managed to get the strike reversed with a sob story to ebay, any idea if this will still be the case Sue?

  22. I’m sure that “buyer education” will still be a reason to reverse the first strike, Mark. After that… well I doubt they’ll tell us.

  23. I watched the US webcast today most things are excellent and a way forward. The feedback issue I think is worrying but that’s just because I’ve not had one yet and can see it happening more readily now.

    I’ve never left a neg for anyone, never needed to I’ve always sorted ANY problem out quickly but I think it will happen sooner or later.

    I have one order missing thanks to Royal Mail and in the future I think negs will follow for this type of thing.

    ‘Suck it and see I suppose 😛

  24. I don’t think negs will necessarily follow – I’ve been leaving feedback first for months now, and haven’t been negged for things lost in the post. It’s partly what you sell, of course, but it’s much more about how you deal with issues. Some sellers are about to get a big shock, because just threatening buyers with reciprocal negs isn’t going to be enough to make the issues go away any more.

  25. Chris according to the announcement from when it starts feedback percentage will be number of pos divided by total number of feedback left (pos + beg +neut) so that repeat feedback counts and neuts and negs go towards your percentage. I have 14 neut and no negs in last year so my feedback % will be 99.6, not 100% as you imply(current feedback over 3 years trading 99.9)

  26. I doubt sellers will be swamped with negs, I do think there is bound to be *some* increase in neutrals and negs though, particularly if ebay continues with the gung-ho encouragement to buyers seen in recent weeks. Not left feedback? – Go on, why not open a dispute… About to leave feedback – hey the seller can’t see what you put, so do your best to slate them on the DSRs. etc

    I believe there is a very tiny minority who will neg just because they can and they don’t want to be reasonable – if that number is as tiny as one in 1000, that would equate to 20 negs for me over the past year 😯

  27. 😯

    I took the decision today based on the annoucements to leave all my buyers feedback -if they have paid within 7 days, (or within the 2 weeks on an NPB).

    All positive, including the ones who werent happy as they had put on/lost weight didnt like the colour, – with a comments along the lines of Sorry this one wasnt right for you this time, happy to refund on receipt etc and suprisingly so far so good.

    Some of my old customers have just left me feedback – as I think that they are realising what is going on see below;

    Ta Suz! This is my replacement skirt, trust this seller 100%, many thanks 10/10

    Absolutly a great an honest seller.Will deal again with Suz.A+++++++++++

    awesum product cheers sue x

    Now – all three are good customers who have shopped before with me – and know I am easy going, and hadnt initially left feedback – why
    1 – she returned the first skirt for being the wrong shade of pink& fit
    2 – He is in Italy and wanted cheaper postage- so I did it at cost and I paid for the majority of the tracking –
    3 – he has been complaining that an item sent Thurs hadnt arrived by Mon, and I sent him the tracking numbers today

    All three have mailed me seperately saying, along the lines of we didnt think you would mind, but we didnt leave feedback as we put you to so much trouble. I found that comment very enlightening, and also quite sad, it is a shame that buyers can’t return items to business sellers as they refuse to take them, and then warn others on feedback about shoddy sellers, or tell peeps when an item goes missing in the post, for fear of getting a neg back.

    Face it as sellers we have thousands of feedback between us the odd neg – might just be justified, in our haste to do something, we might have overlooked something important to someone else, very very easily,- we deal with hundreds of parcels a week- they get 1 for instance – a newbie whose parcel got lost in the post so it misses daughters birthday, could leave a neutral and think its justifed and sellers come along and drop them to -1 f/b and a 50% score- I am not suprised that coupled with the rogue scamming sellers and the media stories are forcing buyers to look else where.

    I for one, am going to lump it and get on with it. And hope that putting a slip in with their parcel along the lines of :

    I have already left feedback for you as eBay is a trust system & I want buyers to shop with complete confidence.
    Like your purchase? Please let me know via feedback or email. The quick link to my eBay store is xxxx
    Thanks for shopping with me, Suz xx

    PS – If for any reason you are not 100% happy for no a
    quibbles refund or exchange call me on 07779 xxx xxx, or 01625 xxxxxxx or email me at [email protected]

    And I hope this makes the buyer think, hey I dont like this – lets try this returns policy – gets what they want as an exchange and then comes back again and again and again and spends…..

    Initial loss to the seller, long term profitability to customer and seller

    Bold move by eBay, but I think a good one
    Only time will tell

    I would also think that in my honest opinion those sellers jumping up and down and screaming about this- are those who have need to fear this- if you offer a good service, dont con buyers, etc etc, I would imagine you have no need to worry

    As for the buyer, for them – it gives confidence, and that is something eBay is sadly lacking at the moment

    Off me soapbox now – sorry this is so long
    night all
    Suz x

  28. It looks good on paper & if it helps encourage buyers, then it makes sound economic sense. However, I do have a niggling doubt.

    Staff members here (usually females for some reason) have been threatened with violence by eBay buyers in the past. Every case was reported to eBay but as the threats were made either over the phone or in an email where the initial message was sent via eBay but by the time of the threat, myself & the buyer ended up emailing each other direct (too difficult to keep track of who said what via My Messages), eBay showed zero interest. Under the new system, I presumably wouldn’t even be able to neg them but such people have to be shown a negative consequence to their actions (even if it’s hollow one in all but their perception) otherwise they’ll continue to do it.

    I think the beauty of eBay in its early days was the flexibility to be found in its simplicity. Give buyers & sellers certain tools like feedback & leave it up to them how they choose to use them. Laying down very specific rules (which are seemingly complex for casual users) to govern users’ actions limits the users’ options & thus doesn’t cover as many eventualities.

  29. Personally I have never given a negative to a buyer even if he/she has left one for me. My first cause of action is to try to sort out whatever caused them to leave the negative, first I would email and if no response I would lift the details and phone them.

    A few times I have found that the phone numbers are not valid so I never find out what the problem is.

    If eBay are going to stop us leaving suitable feedback for buyers then they must make sure that ALL communication channels i.e phone numbers are available, if the phone details are not valid eBay should automatically remove the feedback left by the buyer.

    I would have liked eBay to go even further with the feedback system and to end the stars altogether and use the DSR scores only, but I suspect I am in the minority on this one. Sean

  30. The MFW system will be ended.

    I appreciate that it will no longer be “mutual”, but now where is the incentive for sellers to sort out buyers who have prematurely left negs? Previously, there was the thought that at least a made-happy buyer might withdraw their feedback. Am I missing something, or has this facility now been removed altogether?

  31. Oh well I’ve answered my own question about MFW. From the PSB:
    Re: Mutual Feedback Withdrawal. We’re not planning on phasing it out. We’ll be modifying the process so that erroneous feedback comments can still be dealt with.

  32. One point that may effect how many feedbacks we receive is, that under the new system buyers will not be able to leave feedback until the third day after purchase (this is how I read it, I maybe wrong). This has its advantages, but most of our orders are received by our buyers the day after ordering, Royal Mail permitting. And most feedback is left for us then, are buyers going to remember to come back a couple of days later to leave feedback, or even be bothered.

  33. “And another thing.”

    If sellers can’t leave non-pozzies, then I think comments are going to become a lot more important. When are we going to see the end of private feedback for buyers?

  34. wont make no matter we cant bugger up their feedback now


    one big draw back with this is you cant sus a dodgy buyer out I have a non payer who when I look at their feedback
    is obviously a serial non payer,
    I know ebay will eventually kick off the likes of these if enough sellers file UPI though many sellers are going to be even more reluctant to file UPIs because of the increased chance of a neg, because UPis really get up non payers noses for some reason

    I am diligent to the point of obsession with my UPIs

    so no doubt my negs will go up

  35. Wish us luck, and tell the kids we love them if we dont return,

    we have embarked onto great unknown and changed our prefrence to leave feedback on Payment, on one of our IDs

  36. We have just done the same North, as this is where the system is pointing us, we may as well get on the train now…

    We have not had a negative in four years (except an accidental one), this should be interesting 🙂

    But if these issues do come up, it will come up all over, with all sellers and again it will average out.

    We do like our 100% though 🙂


  37. I have had lots of negs, quite a few in retaliation to our premptive strike, so who knows we may get less now we cant put the boot in first 😈

  38. Deep breath, paper bag at the ready in case of panic attacks, I’ve just done the same too 😯

    Will go and hide in my bunker now…

  39. I did start leaving positive on payment in November, my feeling was that the % of buyers who left any feedback went down (suggesting that some buyers maybe only leave you a feedback to get one themselves), and I got a neut from one of them which I felt was a little unjustified, they didn’t contact me about any probs, just left a neut saying they thought the item was difficult to assemble (no mention of super fast service), I am left wondering if she would have done this if my feedback was going to follow. But then maybe that prooves ebays point?. I changed it back to after they left positive a couple of weeks after my experiment, but now I don’t know what to do. I think overall the changes are good, but it will take a little getting used to, like I said in a previous comment, in 3 months we will all be wondering what all the fuss was about! 🙂

  40. I started leaving feedback first for everyone in August: here’s the post. My negs and neuts remained at the same level, and in fact I feel that buyers are more likely to give me the benefit of the doubt if, for example, deliveries are delayed, because they see the feedback I’ve left and know I can’t blackmail them.

  41. Pleasantly suprised here – had had 50 feedbacks left today from old and newer buyers, who have appreciated the turn around I have taken, – have had a good response to the tracking number on feedback system I am using – shows I have posted it and when – and that way the tracking is there for the world to see –
    Checked it this morning with eBay HQ and they said no reason why not

    So- all in all – good

    Have also emailed a couple of peeps I threw the rattle out of the pram with in the early days apologising and leaving feedback follow up comments, admiting I was out of order,

    If it goes someway to restore faith in the PowerSellers of this community I for one will be pleased

    From the nuclear fallout everywhere, I think that a lot of peeps who are finding these new ways of thinking hard to swallow are moving elsewhere- good is all I can say

    In the past I mistakenly let red mist cloud me, over buyers, now I leave it first – and agree with Sue completely – it gives buyers confidence

    Plus – I think the buyers can work out who is not playing fair when a seller gets a neg,,, especially if the seller has worked their socks off

    Suz x
    PS- Big thanks for Dan as well – his daily posts have got me rethinking my strategy completely

  42. Blimey Suz, I really like your trackable feedback Idea 💡 but are you copying and pasting al those tracking No’s manually? If so is that gonna get tedious?

  43. On feedback changes, did nobody at eBay read their announcement?

    In one place eBay says:

    “Sellers will no longer be able to leave negative or neutral Feedback for buyers.”

    In another place eBay says:
    “…Will sellers still have access to Buyer Requirements to manage their buyers?

    Yes. The Buyer requirements tool enables sellers to prevent or limit the buyers from bidding or buying their items if ……buyer has a negative FB score…”

    How exactly will a buyer ever again have a negative FB score, if seller can’t give them one?

  44. PMSL Nigel, hadn’t spotted that one. However since you ask (and since eBay are NEVER wrong 😉 )

    New account, sells one item, gets a neg…. score is -1 and if they try to they buy from you you can block them 😀


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