"Positive for me, or it's a neutral for you"

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And so it begins. A TameBay reader – we’ll call him Bob Anonymous – received this email from a buyer:

If you choose to send feedback, positive will be sent straight back to you. If feedback is not received, due to ebays new rules on feedback, after a short time neutral will have to be sent.

This is feedback extortion, and ; as such, it should be reported to eBay and any non-positive the buyer left should be removed. Though eBay promised a dedicated “hub” for reporting feeback abuses, Richard Ambrose has that this will not launch for a couple more weeks.

With buyers being told very forcefully by eBay that sellers can no longer leave them anything but positive feedback, is this the sort of thing we can expect in the future? Normally it’s hard to tell exactly what a buyer is thinking in such circumstances, but Bob’s buyer has helpfully highlighted that his threat is due to the new policy.

Sellers from now on would do well to take a more pragmatic approach to feedback. There is absolutely nothing to be gained anymore from waiting to leave feedback. On the other hand, leaving feedback on payment says that you have confidence that the transaction will be concluded to everyone’s satisfaction, and might even buy you the benefit of the doubt in case of a problem later.

13 Responses

  1. “Though eBay promised a dedicated “hub” for reporting feeback abuses … this will not launch for a couple more weeks.”

    *sigh* Let me guess – eBays’ Feedback Team is being run by Michael from The Apprentice? Either way, I imagine they’re going to have quite a backlog once they get up & running.

    I’ve been using a free tool which automatically leaves feedback for buyers upon receipt of a pos. Will keep using it for a while & see how well it works out.

  2. I always report feedback extortion. in the past month I have had 2 eBayers threatening negs if I don’t do this, that or the other.

    On both occasions my PAM took “appropriate action”

    So, until this hub is set up I would urge everyone to do the same. report it.

  3. “There is absolutely nothing to be gained anymore from waiting to leave feedback”

    That depends completely on the products one sells. I for example sell gifts and many of my customers ask me not to leave feedback at all, let alone first.

  4. It is in Ebay’s interests to encourage buyers to neg/neutral sellers. I am a relatively small regular seller and with these
    new powerseller discounts my last month’s bill was discounted by just over £221 for my 30% powerseller discount (from about £750 the month previosuly to £520). When you think of the cumulative effect of all these powersellers getting fee discounts it is in EBay’s interests to get bidders to wreck ratings so that the powersellers no longer qualify for them or lose their powerseller status.

  5. As Sue says ‘and so it begins’

    Personnally I think ebay have opened up a BIG can of worms with the new feedback rules.
    I agree that each & every dispute extortion should be reported, then ebay might actually start to see what they have done.

    In the vast main, most (well over 99%) of ebay larger sellers are genuine & know their reputations rely on receiving + feedbacks, so no one is going to intentionally ‘upset’ a buyer.





    scaledetail (1157 ) View Listings | Report 16-05-08 19:30 BST 6 of 6
    Just in case you didnt want to click that link to find the explanation, i just thought i wou;ld add here that ebay consider a neutral to be counting as 0.667 of a negative cuz they believe most neutrals are left by people who were too scared to leave a neg (for fear of getting negged back).

    But as of the 16th May (roughly) buyers need no longer fear such reprisals, and they are clearly told so when they are about to leave feedback. Ebay has included a nice pop up for them so they cant miss it. So without that fear factor the neutrals become not something that represnts 0.667 of a neg, but exactly whta they are, neutral.

    And someone leaving neutral can no longer be considerd dissatisfied and so a seller should not be suspended because of it.

  7. Some of these early reports I think should be taken with a pinch of salt. I’m not saying Bob’s message wasn’t genuine, but I know some people will make things up to make ebay look bad.

    Long term, this is a huge can of worms. This does open a new route for scammers and charlatans, it does encourage bad buyer behaviour and bad buyer behaviour will inevitably increase. Hopefully ebay will address these issues.

    I’ve already seen sellers saying they are now scared to open disputes because they can be negged and for a small seller a few negs and you’re suspended.

    The feedback hub should have been in place first, indeed it should have been in place for buyers and sellers and may well have made these changes redundant.

  8. Just to add to this, received a phone call today from a buyer, started of very nice and pleasent, transpired, he had sold his car and no longer needed the wheel bolts I sold to him, and he wanted to send them back.

    No problem, only thing I said is that he would have to bear the cost of the postage back to me, with that the mood completely changed, I was asked if I was aware of the new feedback changes, and it would be a pity if my 100% went !

    Needless to say i’m expecting a neg to come soon, and I can’t do anything about it, ebay just don’t give a monkeys, but I do believe all part of a very clever plan, the old saying give with one and take away with the other.

    Sellers discounts, will be very rare unless sellers allow themselves to be held up for ransome. I know we will not get the negs for buyers back, but wish ebay would allow sellers to rate buyers DSR style

  9. Simon, as above – report your buyer for feedback extortion. Yes, it will be difficult to prove in a phone call, eBay may ignore it altogether, but they may not – so if the neg happens, you at least have a little more chance of having it removed, and also your buyer is on record for f/b extortion, which may help the next person he tries it on with.

    FWIW, I think we *will* see more of these threats at first. Some niches will be worse hit than others, just like some used to be more neggy than others anyway. It will take a while for some buyers to get over the feeling of giddy power they have now, but I don’t think it will last forever.

  10. in response to point 8, we have a feedback of over 5000 and have no reason to ‘make ebay look bad’ as it forms a healthy part of our business base. The original ebay message was forwarded to both Sue and Ebay in its entirety, complete with the ebay account names but, as usual, we are not allowed to see any evidence of action taken. The quotes in the original story are exactly as they appeared in the buyers message.


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