“My competitor left malicious low Feedback DSRs”

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We always welcome guest posts from our readers and today tell the story of a reader who was subjected to feedback abuse from one of their competitors.

Normally we don’t publish anonymous stories, but in this case we’ve chosen to withhold the sellers name to ensure that the parties involved can’t be identified. This in their own words is what happened:

A fellow seller seeks to damage my TRS status

I like many professional full time sellers have experienced difficult buyers and have needed to contact eBay Customer Services to seek assistance for the removal of a Feedback comment or resolution of a problem.

On each previous occasion the problem was easily identifiable and eBay provided a mechanism for resolution. Some I won and some I didn’t.

However I recently experienced a “Smiling Assassin” – a fellow seller who deliberately sought to sabotage my Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) by leaving three positive feedbacks along with 3 low score DSR marks for communication.

This particular seller was grief from the very beginning and it was only because I anticipated some back stabbing that I managed to identify and correct it.

The seller sells media items as do I and openly stated that were buying to resell, something I have no problem with. It appears that they had received a ‘PayPal Coupon’ and wanted to use it to purchase goods for resale. I combined 4 separate orders and sent an invoice to which the buyer replied “Sorry I thought I could use my ‘PayPal Coupon’ to pay for all the items, but it seems that I can only use it for a single item. I will send you a Postal Order by Recorded Delivery for payment.”

Firstly I only accept PayPal as a payment method and why, I asked myself, would a seller who accepts payment by PayPal not use their PayPal account regardless of any coupon.

Needless to say no Postal Order arrived and repeated requests for the Recorded Delivery tracking number were ignored. Nine emails down the line (apparently I am a poor communicator!) I had had enough and filed a non payment claim in the eBay Resolution Centre.

Payment by PayPal followed immediately.

The feedback

Amongst the various emails between us this were comments from this buyer thanking me for “prompt responses and being helpful” and they left 3 positive feedback comments.

However a few days later upon checking my Dashboard I noticed a blip and my communications score had jumped up by 3 taking me close to the loss of Top Rated Seller (TRS) status.

eBay customer support

I contacted eBay Customer Services and informed the agent that I thought I had been the victim of ‘Malicious DSR scoring’ and named the person I suspected. To my surprise they confirmed the identity of this buyer!

I should point out that I was fuming angry and informed eBay Customer Services that I was quite prepared to take this buyer to the small claims court and would blog about this incident (yes I admit I used the threat of TameBay) in order to get the removal of this DSRs.

To cut a long story short after much discussion and consultation with supervisors eBay Customer Services agreed to remove the DSRs (took 36 hours to clear.)

As I previously stated I have no problem with a fellow seller purchasing and reselling my products. However when that fellow seller has TRS status and seeks to damage my TRS status with malicious DSRs and gain an advantage over me I get bloody angry.

My little example really shows the danger of anonymous DSR and the need for eBay to better police feedback and DSRs.

Once eBay removed the DSR scores I contacted the seller and told them exactly what I thought about them and they were full of apologies. Unfortunately they haven’t been suspended.

Final comment

One final comment – as a regular moaner about eBay Customer Services I have to say that on this occasion they came up trumps – “Thank you, eBay Customer Services”.

13 Responses

  1. I suspect that if ebay analyse how their customer service time is used a high percentage is spent on feedback related issues.

    All eBay need to do to reduce their administration in the area of feedback is to prevent buyers leaving a DSR score of less than 3 when positive feedback is left.

    What a simple solution.

    It may of course mean that more neutrals and negatives would have to be left but is not feedback meant to be genuine anyway?

    But then the feedback system would have to be genuine with no link to seller reward or penalty and this is where it is absolutely flawed and why it is the cause of so much grief.

    And why the event above can happen.

  2. lack of Consistency from ebay support is our biggest gripe
    it very much depends on who deals with your complaint on what the outcome is

  3. Gary at point 1 makes a very valid point.

    I was just about to get TRS at the next evaluation, however a buyer left positive fb but a score of 2 for dispatch, despite it going out next day.

    I contacted the buyer to see where I had gone wrong (frowned upon by eBay)and they said they left lots of fb at once and left the wrong score for me as they were happy with product and service.

    Have contacted eBay but don’t hold out much hope. This ‘2’ takes me to 3 in 12 months, after receiving one last December when the country came to a stop over the snow, and in July this year by a new buyer since March who has given no less than 9 negatives, how unlucky is she? Even when sellers refund for a faulty item, she still gives negatives!

    So yes the DSR system does needlooking at, but can you ever see it happening?

  4. The only way sellers can improve their businesses is for all feedback that is given , to have an item number and the buyers name so the seller can check and see where the problem was and then hopefully improve the problems that are related to any bad feedback
    Keeping the seller in the dark does nothing for the seller , constructive feedback can always help sellers improve but when ratings are left and the seller has no idea to what item it is , then the only winners are Ebay because they are using the feedback as as part of their goodwill in their business .

  5. Loads of my sellers have been struggling from this for years, when those sellers HAD account managers they would tell them about the ‘suspicious’ DSRs and remove them if they meant loss of TS.

    That doesn’t happen any more so it’s a free for all. Even bigger notable sellers have been buying off smaller competitors and you never know why…a genuine purchase or a DSR killer.

  6. I manage one of the largest stores in a particular category (a bricks-and-mortar chain, too). I BELIEVE it happens every now and again; namely competitors (by extension) masquerading as newbies or finding any reason to complain. A little research usually shows them up.

    My colleagues and I have learned the tough approach usually works best in these particular circumstances when the signals are clear; the customer is definitely NOT always right.

    Fortunately with our volume of sales it doesn’t really matter, and the rogue “smiling assassin” is limited in their damage, but it sucks to get even the odd blemish against an otherwise stellar track record that we genuinely work really, really hard for (6 of us!)
    And it’s wholly unpleasant going through the motions with these cretins (who, I’d wager, pop up at least once a month – often with no real, pressing, genuine reason for complaint and who’s stories never match up).

    This is just one advantage of an eBay account manager (thank you, C!) – sadly not all sellers are lucky enough to have). But pleased that customer service came to your rescue! Personally, I think eBay do, mostly, a stellar job – certainly improved over recent years – of protecting sellers, but pitfalls prevail regardless of the platform. Such are the pitfalls – and advantages – of trading on a relatively transparent marketplace.

    Yours, diplomatically –

    X PLC

  7. p.s Liz, can you elucidate?? Strong assertions.

    I’d add, at a tangent: personally, I’d be happy to be rid of feedback comments (or a new variation thereof) and enjoy a more sophisticated scoring system. Feedback,in it’s traditional incarnation, was designed, ultimately, for a different kind of eBay. But that’s a WHOLE other story…:)


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