Neutral: I found it cheaper somewhere else

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There’s an interesting which you’ll need a PowerSeller log in to view. A seller sold an item and subsequently the buyer found the product at a lower price and decided to leave neutral feedback.

When the seller contacted eBay support the initial answer was that the feedback didn’t meet normal criteria for removal along with the standard suggestion that they should contact the buyer to negotiate for feedback revision. That seems a little pointless in this situation as the chances seem high to me that the buyer would want a partial refund in return for revising feedback. That’s akin to feedback extortion and really isn’t something anyone wants to occur.

A little persistence paid off, after calling eBay support again and asking for a supervisor to review the case eBay removed the feedback and said that they were going to give the buyer a coupon for the value of the item purchased as a goodwill gesture for the removal of the feedback.

The seller said “What worries me is that should buyers continue to give such feedbacks both neutral and negative, that have no bearing on the actual transaction with the buyer, then potentially they may not be removed!”. What’s more of a worry is that buyers may decide to leave feedback unrelated to the transaction if they think it’ll result in a voucher from eBay!

It’s good customer service on eBay’s part and certainly a seller shouldn’t have their performance impacted because a buyer finds a product cheaper elsewhere. Regardless of the item price the cost you pay reflects the item cost at the time along with the service and venue you’re purchasing from. If you don’t like the price then don’t buy in the first place.

23 Responses

  1. This reminds me of a case recently where someone bought a dress from a sellers website at full price but this seller also has an eBay store.

    Each Monday this seller puts up a cheap auction picking an item at random.

    It just so happened that one Monday they picked this ladies dress and the dress sold at £49 whereas the full price dress was £89.

    The buyer contacted the shop and complained that it was unfair and that she wanted the difference refunded.

    The shop tried to explain the random nature of auctions on eBay but this buyer went on a complete trolling mission to ‘stop anyone ever buying from this rip off store’

    The store said she could return the dress (even after the 30 day period and 2 outings in it) for a full refund but the buyer refused.

    Last I heard the shop had to contact their lawyer as she was trying to sue them through the small claims court for the difference.


  2. It’s good customer service on eBay’s part and certainly a seller shouldn’t have their performance impacted because a buyer finds a product cheaper elsewhere.

    I disagree. This is not an example of good customer service. This crosses a line of trust between the seller and eBay. It basically says that this buyer’s behavior is OK. It is one thing to offer a coupon to the buyer because they had a bad experience on the platform but it is quite different if the buyer’s bad experience is due to their sense of entitlement.

    By the way this is one of the ugly sides of dynamic pricing. I haven’t personally seen any negative cases that I was involved in but I do know Amazon did a trial of this years ago and then had to publicly vow to never do it again because of negative publicity that it created.

  3. This highlights an important and often overlooked feature of the eBay feedback system:- there is no reputational risk for the buyer any more.

    He has no incentive to care. No incentive to take care. And every incentive to find fault.

    Where one half of the marketplace are able to act whimsically, capriciously, or maliciously without any consequence, there is a systematic failure in the feedback system.

    There has been a lot of focus on removing scumbag sellers from the marketplace. Good. It’s now time to remove the scumbag buyers. And then time to scale back Trust and Safety and free up eBay account management to start acting like a partner to both sides.

  4. We had a similar incident, we put a slight second item on auction, as we often do. This sold for £10 than a new one.

    We dispatched to the customer who then called us to complain as they had worked out what they had done. It was either refund the money or have it returned and have a negative!

    Now people choose what to bid in this case, we don’t force or mislead them so we did nothing wrong, but just get held up against the wall for it!

    But I guess you just have to put up with it!

  5. We had a similar problem , on two seperate occasions , due to postal problems . We had customers calling us liars and conmen . We got negative feedback and despite numerous emails to ” EBAY SUPPORT” we got nowhere as they did not think it was defamatory or broke any of their rules that are in place to make Ebay a fair place to trade ???

    For me it was the final straw and we now concentrate on other areas .

  6. It’s simply supply and demand.

    If the market is flooded with product X the price will fall and if the market has few product Y the price will rise.

    There are numerous products which start with a high price and which quickly drops off. Many DVDs can be purchased for less than the initial asking price if you are prepared to wait a few months.

    The buyer in this case should have been told “I you don’t like the price then don’t buy the product and don’t bother us again.”

    Sorry but its time to start culling these Muppets from the market – they should be banned for ever.

    I feel sorry for the next seller they deal with.

  7. Re Negative and Neutral. It’s often worth speaking to ebay. I have done this and often had neg or neutral removed.
    One ebay employee told me, in a roundabout way, that if you can get the customer to say “in an ebay message” about refund for neg removal then they will remove the feedback and the DSR’s.

    Sadly it’s playing the game.

    I have feedback where people have said “too small” when we have photo’s against a ruler. One just said “crap”.

    The phone call’s free and although it takes a bit of time, if you manage to get it removed it’s worth the effort.

    RE Vouchers.
    We had a weird one where we sent a parcel to US when the customer wanted it to go to UK.
    For some reason it got messed up in ebay somewhere. Ebay said if I could resend the order to the UK address then they would give ME a voucher.

    I don’t win but at least I got a voucher the customer got their goods and ebay lost a few quid.

  8. when you think about it only on ebay can a neutral view or comment cause such uproar,
    neutral should be exactly that ,”Neutral”
    it should not effect anything one way or the other,
    though on ebay even a positive comment can knife you in the back via the DSRs

  9. I think the comment that ebay don’t have enough balls is about right. They behave as if they are running scared of both the buyer and their competitors, primarily Amazon.

    Frankly ebay should be saying – you are an adult buyer, grow up – and then remove any feedback that is unfair to the seller.

    There are clear rules about the nature of commercial transactions, and buyers have to be made aware that they are responsible for their part in the transaction. If they accept the offer that is their lookout.

    No seller can guarantee the best price or the same price at any given time, pricing strategies vary, as does market supply. Even books by CEOs of Ebay owned business promote sellers changing prices to find the best point on the market for them.

    I just hope in the end ebay’s arrogance and lack of ethical backbone will start to bite back, as it has done with many other dominant business over the years.

  10. Simply an eBay best match success.

    No seller should ever ever be penalised for a success (for getting a better price and also ‘earn’ more fees for eBay than could have been achieved).

    Way to go?

    Do buyers understand eBay fees?

    Note to Tamebay: that last question would make a good topic for discussion.

  11. But the real sting is the hidden one:
    What DSR stars did they leave?

    It’s this invisble element that can kill off a seller on ebay, not the obvious silliness of the neutral.

  12. The sooner feedback, as we know it, is abolished, the better. There’s no good reason for it as it stands now.


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