RepXchange : passing on the bad bidders

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When eBay banned non-positive feedback for buyers, it was inevitable that other companies would spring up to try to fill the gap. Whether they’re trying to pass the word on dodgy buyers, or just give frustrated sellers a place to vent, there are a few of these around. I thought we’d take a look at them.

First up is RepXchange is essentially a way to exchange blocked bidder lists: sellers can upload their entire list, or entire problem buyers and details of the transaction one by one. Reports are then pooled, and sellers can download a list of bidders to block based on filters they choose: for example, if you’re an electronics seller, you might choose only to download buyers reported by others in the same niche.

The site is free to use, but operates a system of ‘credits’, so that each member has to give some information in order to benefit from that given by others. More useful activity – specific transaction details and referring new sellers – is rewarded more highly than just uploading your entire blocked bidder list.

Of the sites I’ve looked at over the past few weeks, RepXchange is probably the most useful and certainly the only one I would consider using. But I still have reservations about it. Firstly, information is necessarily limited to sellers who are taking part in their program: even if they grew at an exponential rate, the number of eBay members is so huge that I would stand a needle in haystack’s chance of finding my next problem bidder on their list.

Secondly, even with filtering, just because a buyer causes *me* problems, that’s no guarantee that they’ll cause *you* problems. I know from looking at feedback that my competitors and I often disagree on whether a buyer is a good one or not; indeed, I remember one buyer who negged me two or three times on one ID, but continued buying from me on another ID, and told me how happy she was to be buying from me and not that other shyster she’d had to neg 😉 Sometimes people just don’t hit it off.

My other concern is around the legal issues of sharing this kind of information. RepXchange founder Laurie Borden told me in an email:

Our service simply accepts manual entry of blocked bidder IDs that sellers have collected at their own discretion, which is rightfully the property of the sellers. Although eBay allows sellers to maintain a list of blocked bidders, eBay doesn’t claim to own this data anywhere in the agreements we have reviewed, nor does it state that this information is non-transferable.

eBay have given hints that the sharing of BBLs is somthing they don’t like: Pink James recently posted on the PowerSeller board that “the publication of any BBL or links to BBL will be reported to Liveworld as a violation of board policy as it boils down to ‘naming and shaming’ a member as a bad buyer and as such won’t be tolerated in any way shape or form.” Whether the sin would extend beyond “board policy” is yet to be seen.

RepXchange is currently in public beta.

13 Responses

  1. This idiotic naming and shaming has to stop! What did these people do BEFORE EBAY??? Ebay has totally spoiled these “business” people to the point that they’re obsessed with feedback, eBay should just get rid of feedback all together.

    I guarantee you lawsuits will be springing up all over the place as a result of sharing these lists.

    Does Target share their chargeback/fraud lists with Walmart? Does Best Buy share their shit lists with Circuit City? People have got to get smarter and more professional, they all claim to be businesspeople, well, work your business plans and think of ways to become more profitable instead of obsessing about these lists. They can bitch all they want about these rogue buyers but you will just be setting yourselves up for a backlash.

    As a consumer, I WOULD NEVER KNOWINGLY BUY ANYTHING FROM A SELLER WHO SHARED BBLists with other sellers on the internet outside of eBay, so you better hope folks don’t find out who you really are. It just makes you look desperate and unprofessional. I’m going to sign up for all of them and then create a website just to watch “the watchers” of these lists. LOL

  2. No doubt ebay will remove BBL at some point, telling us to use buyer preferences instead.

    I am curious to know the legality of refusing to sell to someone?

  3. Biggles, I had a buyer a while back who was rather insistent that I couldn’t legally refuse to sell to him. I was unable to find any legislation that said I had to take his money, and I must say that I would have expected eBay would have checked the legality pretty thoroughly before they introduced the BBL.

    Of course, if anyone knows anything different, please let us know!

  4. I am curious to know the legality of refusing to sell to someone?’

    Shops are free to choose who they serve (as long as no discrimination laws are broken) why would online sales be any different?

  5. Does Target share their chargeback/fraud lists with Walmart? Does Best Buy share their shit lists with Circuit City?’

    No idea about in the US but in the UK stores certainly share lists of fraudsters, bad cards, shoplifters, etc.

  6. My biggest problem is not the legality of sharing lists. It’s quite simply that I’ve had customers that have been negged before who have been dream buyers. I’ve also had nightmare customers (that I’ve negged) who have gone on to make many purchases from other sellers seamingly without problem.

    Why would I want to block your “bad” customer when they could be an ideal buyer from me, and why would you want to lose a great customer just because they and I didn’t hit it off for whatever reason?

  7. Legaly speaking no person/company/organisation can share/disclose private information with any other third person(s) without the consent of the person who they are commenting on.
    This is the basis of the Data protection act 1998, BUT there is much done & said verbally & illegally and in breach of the law.

    As far as a sellers right NOT to sell to someone, provided you have blocked a bid (i assume this is your choice), then you have as much right to refuse to sell something to someone as anyone else.
    Ebay says that once an auction ends and a bidder has won, then legally a contract exist between the parties, which is correct. On the other hand how many buyers/sellers do not complete a transaction and thus are in breach of contract. Ebay can only penalize the guilty party by way of a strike against the offender.
    What else are we to do, sue everyone!!!!………

  8. Gerry007: one would have to wonder exactly what “private information” was being shared, if the only datum were an eBay ID, surely? Even “I have blocked such-and-such bidder”, with no further details, doesn’t look like it’s in breach of the DPA to me – though of course IANAL and I don’t pretend to be one on the internet either.

  9. Sue; I was just pointing out the UK law on dislosure. Ebay ID’s is private information & would be regarded as such.

    IANAL & like you, do not pretend to be one, but this law is quite clear on disclosure.

    Thankfully bad bidders are still in the minority.

  10. Ebay ID’s is private information & would be regarded as such.

    That’s what I’m not convinced about. An eBay ID can be found on the site: arguably it’s public information, so long as the personal info behind it wasn’t revealed (and excepting certain circumstances e.g. Germany with its stronger privacy laws).

  11. arguably it’s public information, so long as the personal info behind it wasn’t revealed’

    I suppose it comes down to, if the person entering info on a BBL or elsewhere has this info, as a seller or buyer gains the other’s info on completeion of the auction. It is up to them NOT to add to the ID (under any circumstances).
    Including being well ‘p**sed o*f ‘ with some nutty & over demanding/non paying buyer!!….

  12. Ebay keeps changing the rules so fast, sooner or later they won’t even know what the rules are.



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