eBay 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.