eBay hide Outlet’s feedback

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Hidden-Outlet-FeedbackeBay have it appears, hidden feedback on the view item page for eBay Outlet sellers – the large high street retailers who sell on eBay.

In the seller information box we’re accustomed to seeing if the seller offers eBay Premium Service plus the seller’s feedback score, star and positive feedback percentage. Now on Outlets all that information is hidden and replaced with the Outlet’s logo and (if they’ve filled out the box) a short description of the company.

As an example Littlewoods have their logo and the description: “We offer top brand products at discounted prices! Visit our site to find Fashion and Footwear from much loved brands including Converse and French Connection plus homeware & electrical products!“.

It’s pretty obvious why eBay are doing this, Outlet brands in the main engender a feeling of trust from consumers who are familiar with the retailers and so information about the company may be more appropriate than their fantastic feedback score. However the reverse is also true… Outlets can now use their branding to hide their feedback score if they’re performing poorly and have rubbish feedback, how can buyers judge their service without being able to see recent feedback and comments?

This is going to seriously upset those sellers who don’t qualify for the special treatment. One of the fundamental principles of eBay has always been feedback. When Pierre introduced feedback he said “Use our feedback forum. Give praise where it is due; make complaints where appropriate” adding “Make your complaints in the open. Better yet, give your praise in the open. Let everyone know what a joy it was to deal with someone“.

You can hardly make complaints in the open or let everyone know what a joy it was to deal with an Outlet, if their feedback is hidden from view. You can see an Outlet’s feedback, but only if you know it’s revealed by hovering over their logo on the view item page.

It’s fair to say that the “level playing field” that eBay was once so proud of doesn’t really exist these days. In truth it was never really there, larger sellers have always been able to get better rates through eBay shops etc and had the tools to game eBay search. That’s still the case, but it appears the table has tilted a little further towards some of the very largest sellers, they don’t have to worry about feedback quite as much as you and I. Their next customer probably won’t even see that they have any feedback, no matter how bad, or (hopefully) how good the Outlet’s feedback score is.

43 Responses

  1. This is really disgraceful. It deserves most E-Bay sellers taking personal action against the UK Ebay leaders whose smiley ‘I am your friend’ publicity pictures I recently saw. Friendly smiles there to conceal EBays’s growing scam…

  2. This is unbelievable!

    I have actually had my suspicions that the big outlets aren’t being subject to the same standards as us in terms of defects and their seller dashboard as most of their products still appear towards the top of search lists, yet their feedback is usually a lot worse than others. Argos & ebuyerexpress for example.

    Whilst I understand why eBay want the big outlets on their site, they should still be subject to the same treatment as the rest of us. Big or small.

  3. one man bands and small sellers need to get real ebay suffer us they-think they dont need us ,which this is just another example of

  4. There was a major hight street outlet store suspended from eBay for non performance, sorry don’t know who, but those major retailers do have a very poor record on ebay. They get daily negative feedback.

    I myself ordered a fleece, got sent the wrong item, had to post it back at my cost and lost £8 for their mistake. If I offered that level of service daily, I’d be removed from ebay in an instant. Good riddance to ebay.

  5. Is this actually ‘restrictive practise’? if so, it’s illegal unless all ebay users can opt in.

  6. Surprised???

    how??
    If you did not know this was happening or that there are underhanded tactics going on at ebay , then you need to give yourself a good shake.

  7. eBay likes to use feedback as a rod to beat the backs of small, smaller & smallest sellers. The big boys are more equal than you and different rules apply. Its been like that for years, ever since a little bit before Meg left to try to buy the California governorship and then break HP.

    My memory may be a bit off but I am thinking the level playing field tipped a bit around 2006 and the whole feedback thing got a bit smelly about the same time. All downhill since.

    I haven’t been on eBay in years but out in the rest of the e-world feedback just doesn’t seem very important anymore. Buyers will (of course) leave it if they are unhappy but honestly I think it is mostly just we old fart eBay trained buyers who even give it a thought.

  8. Am I right in thinking that on Amazon feedback is displayed for all sellers (except for Amazon themselves) ?

  9. its not all outlets schuh is not hidden.

    Either there is different bands/grades of outlets or it depends on the back hander.

  10. Commercial fact: The more you spend the better the deal! So I guess it stands to reason that the ‘big hitters’ get additional benefits.

    However, feedback and the new seller standards is supposed to create an environment in which purchasers can identify trustworthy partners from the mix of retailers on the site. As more and more customers now leave neutral and negative feedback to raise often minor customer service issues it is clear that the ‘how to leave feedback’ message is often being ignored or misunderstood.

    There is a risk here. Lots of neutral and negative comments issued without foundation are in themselves worthless. Ebay sellers who follow the recommended best practice have little real control over their feedback outcomes as, in my opinion, many users do not understand or cannot be bothered to use feedback in the way it was designed.

    The ultimate sad result is Ebay will become choked with poor feedback and that will undermine the thing feedback is supposed to develop TRUST.

  11. Do people seriously look at feedback in that much detail? I’ll glace at it but so long as it’s above about 97% I couldn’t care less about individual comments. Probably so long as it’s in the 90’s actually.

    And with well know brands this is even less of a concern. I wouldn’t even glance at it.

    And shock that big companies get preferential rates etc. It’s called economies of scale.

  12. Have to agree with earlier comment that in todays world performance related feedback is less relevant. I decided to leave feedback over the weekend on 12 or so recent ebay purchases because I felt obligated to, not because I wanted to. In all cases I was 100% happy. I wonder how many ebay buyers feel the same way?

    The fact is the idea of feeling obligated to leave feedback on performance is, for me, leaving me cold. Leave it on the product yes on a voluntary basis, but on the actual seller on a must do basis???

    Seems like a waste of time most of the time no matter how ebay spin it about helping the community.

  13. I presume this change was just rolled out without anouncement and Tamebay have received no comment from eBay?

    eBay are not interested in the smaller sellers that joined the site early on and kept it running while they were wating for the big fish to be landed.

    It’s a shame that eBay believe they can use a yardstick to measure the folks that were constant and consistant and not the new blood, apalling service sellers that have joined only recently.

    I’d suggest a boycott, but that’s neither practical or helpful and, lets face it, eBay wouldn’t even notice.

  14. ebay seem to have misinterpreted the 80/20 rule.

    Sure you can get 80% of your profit from your top 20% of sellers – but it only stacks up if you retain the other 80%. To ignore them is just a thick thing to do, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from this shower..

  15. My sales have dropped by half since this hiding of feedback started. I sell many items in direct competition with one of the major outlets that always sold the same products as me but for less money. Customers knew I was up to £2 dearer than this High Street name but having seen their feedback is 98.6% and that they have had 2372 negatives and 1779 neutrals in the last 12 months, they were happy to pay the extra and buy from me as they could see that I offer great customer service, always resolve issues, always reply to complaints and questions quickly, offer free postage etc etc and as a result I have negligible neutrals and negatives. Unlike the big name I do not have thousands of unhappy customers, going around saying what a bad experience they had on ebay!

    Now they don’t even notice the poor feedback of the high street name as they have been allowed to hide it.

    This is totally against what Ebay claim to stand for. They want buyers to have a great buying experience but they are encouraging buyers to buy from someone who is known to provide poor customer service.

    I have complained to ebay but they have cut me off once (they say due to a technical problem) and then promised to ring me back with confirmation of exactly when this particular seller started hiding their feedback so I can check it against my sales. Surprise surprise – no phone call back.

    Personally I think ebay have their priorities all wrong. I am changing my business structure so I am much less reliant on ebay trade, with sales on other channels and even starting moving towards becoming a bricks and mortar business. My escape plan is in hand and I am sure many others will follow!

  16. if the supermarkets stopped selling bread and milk they would soon go bust
    yet ebay seem not to care about their equivalent of bread and milk

  17. I remember on eBay.com they recently announced a new set of major art sellers doing live auctions tied in with eBay. I was curious and took a look. There’s no stipulation of shipping (something that has to be organised after the auction), and a percentage fee to pay on any given sale – already they are given special dispensations not available to other art sellers.
    The feedback like the outlet sellers doesn’t appear to show on the item pages. I clicked on one major fine art seller, and so far they have three feedback – the latest one being for a 20th century piece of furniture that has a big red negative statement stating the furniture is a 1995 fake from Asia.
    Any other seller would be booted off before long. I’m assuming these more major players are given special dispensation by eBay.

  18. yet another bad move by eBay
    What is it the world is suffering from…”the rich getting more rich and the poor getting more poor”…..???
    eBay are clear contributors to inequality

  19. I thought i would get rid of some old books on ebay. I was given 10 free listings and started the auction at 99p as advised. I only sold one and as i was using paypal and it needed tracking the postage was £3.90.
    Now the ebay fees are 39p and paypal have charged me 37p.
    How can this be right and why does anyone sell on ebay ?

  20. Chris – Has Tamebay E-Mailed eBay for an explanation or a response? Would be interesting to see what they have to say on this!

  21. The way I see it …lol any long time seller on ebay worth his salt will have made sure ebay is no longer there main source of income. If it is the case there will be a good few seller ready to jump the sinking ship.

    I am not holding out for a revolution lol Or the about turn.

  22. These outllets all have their own websites, they are only on ebay as long as ebay has a marketplace they can tap, and for that you need small medium business and private sellers of interesting stuff. Otherwise what makes searching this ‘shopping mall’ any different from searching in Google??

  23. Seems odd that eBay remove outlet feedback from display when outlets are happy to have public feedback on their own websites in the form of “customer reviews”. Maybe ebay should move with the times, remove all feedback, and launch “customer reviews” in its place.

  24. I have to be honest here and say that feedback for the large High Street chains such as Littlewoods, Argos, House of Fraser etc is rather irrelevant.

    Having worked for a large High Street store their brand is generic, they have a look and feel to their shops which has to be the same all over the UK and terms and conditions set with regard to exchanges, returns, complaints that the company and staff, online or otherwise, must comply with. I, as a customer purchasing from these stores would follow the Company’s guidelines with regard to problems, returns etc rather than using the ebay feedback system. Some of these large retailers have been going longer than ebay and as such are above and beyond the feedback system, they have their own websites, complaints policies/departments, couriers and much more. It also stands to reason that such large retailers are going to have some complaints, possibly added as a negative on the feedback system when in fact the customer should go direct to the company and deal with it in an adult fashion.

    That’s my take on it anyway. 🙂 🙂

    Jackie

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