Interesting Strategy: No More Negative Feedback For eBay Buyers

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EBay Inc., the biggest Internet auction marketplace and parent company of Paypal and Skype, announced today that it is tweaking its feedback system.  EBay’s feedback system is when buyers and sellers give each other testimonials based on how well the transaction went.  The options are Positive, Negative, and Neutral.

Ever since eBay started its operations in 1995, buyers and sellers have been exchanging feedback since Day 1.  This is a huge change for the company.  But starting February 20, sellers will no longer be able to give buyers negative ratings.

The sellers won’t be happy.  This is a loss of bargaining power for them.  

This announcement is coming shortly after eBay CEO, Meg Whitman announced her resignation and that there have been some price fluctuations.

“When the seller leaves a negative feedback for a buyer, it drives them away from the site,” stated Steve Grossberg, President of the Internet Merchants Association. 

As a side note, there are rumors that eBay may consider selling off Skype if the product does not meet certain performance goals this year. 

With so much happening at eBay, they seem vulnerable for other competition to step-up against them.  Google attacked Yahoo! when they were restructuring as did Facebook when Friendster was restructuring.  Amazon just reported a solid quarter so it will be interesting to see how eBay responds.

[Source: Associated Press via Yahoo!]

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at

Interesting Strategy: No More Negative Feedback For eBay Buyers Comments

  1. No negatives for buyers EXCUSE ME? says:

    EBay has just slapped all sellers in their faces. We are the fee payers we are eBay’s life’s blood. How does eBay repay us? Simple, they castrate us by taking away our ability to leave negatives for buyers. So now anyone with a chip on their shoulder, a hangover, stupid or just plain mean can randomly leave a negative for a seller. It’s like opening the flood gates for zombies to wreak havoc and taking away our ability to shoot them in the head. There are malicious people out the their that will take advantage of this. So who is going to take it in the chin….us the seller…oh..And eBay. I don’t know if they are too stupid to realize this, but the combination of the 5% thing and this is going to dramatically lower there power seller users. EBay’s life’s blood will slowly be drained as they loose seller after seller because they took away a “check” on the buyer as in checks and balances. EBay has always tilted the scale to buyers, but this time they have simply thrown the scale away. Let’s take for example the real non eBay world of doing business. If a consumer is unhappy they can file a complaint with consumer affairs or the bbb. The agencies then review their complaint and make a decision. But this is like just taking those review agents away, those agents are employed because not every complaint is valid. Some just complain because they simply did not abide by the original terms and conditions, in other words they were the problem not the seller. Buyers hold back negative until at least in their mind, they feel justified in doing so. With this new standard, they will no longer think before they act because now no matter what, even if they are wrong, they can do this without repercussions. I as a seller have had numerous occasions where buyers simply did not read my ad on as is items. They have not left negatives because they realize they were wrong

  2. Dan says:

    I don’t know who linked me to this ditch on the internet, but I do know that the eBay deal is garbage.

    I’d like to hear it straight out the Presidents mouth, WITHOUT spin, how this helps sellers.

  3. Postal says:

    The feedback system was what made ebay unique and interesting. WIthout the feedback system working fully there will be a lot more fraud happening and a lot less ebayers.

  4. Amit Chowdhry says:

    I agree. There are so many fraud buyers out there. Letting them get away without negative feedback is plain wrong.

  5. John Hammonds says:

    I am a power seller on ebay. If this is the case and it becomes a hassle, ebay can forget charging me tons of outrageous fees on the 100,000 dollars of business I do on that site. I can close my business as quickly as I started it. I won’t stand for alot of B.S. like this as the fees are enough to drive you away as it is.

  6. Louis Arthur says:


    As a conscientious eBay buyer, at first I gave honest feedback about all my transactions, but I got hit with so much venomous, vengeful RETALIATORY FEEDBACK by BAD SELLERS who are destroying eBay, that I had to stop. I specifically asked eBay to automatically block retaliatory feedback, but they refused.

    So I lost faith in eBay and regretfully, I practically gave up on the site. I felt sorry for dropping the great sellers that I had come to trust and like, but the bad apples had killed my joy in bidding and buying, and I felt that since eBay was leaving me completely unprotected, perhaps the site didn’t deserve serious buyers. I’m sure that tens of thousands of members similarly gave up in disgust, that tens of millions of dollars in profits were forever lost, all that on account of eBay’s irrational and self-sabotaging policies.

    This recent change in policy has given me hope, and I’ve just started to bid again from sellers I know, but great damage has been done to eBay’s reputation and it may take YEARS to undo. Every day I see quality items fetch a ridiculously low price… Why? Because the serious bidders aren’t back yet.

    So I have to wonder when I hear sellers lament that eBay has “slapped them in their faces”… They may not realize that the old eBay policies actually made them lose 50-70% of their potential bidders, and therefore tons of $$$$$… Any measure that restores buyer confidence will turn out in time to be a BLESSING TO SELLERS as well, because they will be getting far more bids on their items.

  7. Johnhammonds says:

    Why would a seller leave a buyer negative feedback after a a buyer left him a positive feedback. That’s just dumb. I would never leave a buyer a negative that left me a positive.

    My feedback always matches. Negative for negative, positive for positive.

  8. Jake says:

    I actually think this is better. No more false feedback, and it wont drive away users. Sure fraud and yadda yadda, that still happens even without the fucking feedback system in place you idiots.

  9. Judith says:

    Too many times I was afraid to leave negative feedback for a buyer because I knew they would slam me back. As a matter of fact I always pay the minute the auction ends with paypal, yet I never would get any feedback from the seller UNTIL I gave THEM positive feedback. I already did my job as a good buyer. Why do I have to wait until I give the seller feedback until I get mine. RIGHT because they are paranoid. So like a good little girl, even if I get something not great, i saw it’s WONDERFUL, so I can get my SHE”S WONDERFUL back. I’m glad that I can finally tell the community I’m in the truth about some of the merchandise I’ve been getting.

  10. Justin says:

    I agree with you Judith, too many sellers hold your feedback hostage. it has not happened often, but there have been at least two times in the last few years that I have received good that were NOT as described or were photographed at angles specifically to hide damage in order to misrepresent the item, or took three weeks to ship or sent counterfeit or pirated goods and communication with the seller gets no satisfactory response. All of these issues would be ample and justified reasons to leave negative feedback but who ever would? If you are a casual buyer with, say 35 feedback, why would you destroy your rating just to tell the truth about a sellers bad behavior? All in all it destroyed my faith in the ebay system sellers would have artificially high feedback ratings because the buyer were all afraid to be honest. John Hammonds post above about negative for negative is bullshit. If I payed you within the agreed upon terms then my job as a buyer is complete. I always bought from sellers who explicitly stated that they left positive feedback as soon as they were paid… thats the way it should have been done from the beginning. Interestingly the sellers who used that policy had almost perfect ratings…. could it be that they actually delivered product that was shipped on time, packaged well and was as described? Hmmm.

  11. ebayerbuyer says:

    February 10th, 2008 at 12:46 pm
    Why would a seller leave a buyer negative feedback after a a buyer left him a positive feedback. That’s just dumb. I would never leave a buyer a negative that left me a positive.

    My feedback always matches. Negative for negative, positive for positive.

    You are suppose to base your feedback on if the buyer paid. If he paid then he gets a positive. If you didn’t hold up to your end of the deal and receive a negative that’s your problem. You can’t leave a negative just because someone left one about you. The buyer still payed. Your what’s wrong with ebay. Your the reason why they are doing this. I will never buy off you. No one cares if you leave.

  12. ebayerbuyer says:

    April 7th, 2008 at 6:50 pm
    February 10th, 2008 at 12:46 pm
    Why would a seller leave a buyer negative feedback after a a buyer left him a positive feedback. That’s just dumb. I would never leave a buyer a negative that left me a positive.

    My feedback always matches. Negative for negative, positive for positive.

    You are suppose to base your feedback on if the buyer paid. If he paid then he gets a positive. If you didn’t hold up to your end of the deal and receive a negative that’s your problem. You can’t leave a negative just because someone left one about you. The buyer still payed. Your what’s wrong with ebay. Your the reason why they are doing this. I will never buy off you. No one cares if you leave.

  13. Chaotist Razor says:

    I don’t buy any of Justin’s bullshit. (No pun intended.) You make it seem like the poor little buyers need to be protected from those evil, malicious sellers – give me a break.

    There are a lot of ways to fix the current system as it is, but taking away a seller’s right to appropriate feedback, (all because you all are afraid to speak the “truth” about your transactions) is not one of them.

  14. gixxerboy05 says:

    I feel its about goddamed time we have the piece of mind of warning others of these sellers who rob us by not sending items or sending items not as described or whenever they cheat us out of our hard earned $$$$ for. These sellers kind of had us by the balls because they could leave a negative in revenge even thou we paid for our items instantly and contacted them when they sent the wrong or never sent items. Ive been through this many times and had to keep this to myself from other buyers because i want to keep my perfect feedback score. Im soooooooooo happy i can now speak my mind free of retaliation, But i will still always try my damed hardest to resolve an issue with the seller before leaving a neg.

  15. AnotherEbayBuyer says:

    I’m glad for this. Now I can finally leave honest feedback without worring about the seller ticking me with a negative just because they didn’t get a positive from me.

    I always pay quickly for my items and never bicker about shipping costs, (if shipping is too expensive, I don’t bother to bid). I left a neutral feedback for a guy who sent me a deck of Magic cards that was horribly packed and it had spilled out all over the shipping box. No plastic covers on them either. Lucky none were baddly damaged ( I would have left neg feedback ). All he had to do was put a piece of tape over the box lid to keep it safe or even ship it in a better box. That sonofa— left me negative feedback for my neutral feedback. I had ebay all over him and eventually he and I agreed to retract our feedback, but I still feel others should know what I went through with this guy.

    All ebay needs to do now is fix it so that ripoff sellers can’t overcharge for shipping costs. I see ALOT of sellers charging DOUBLE the shipping costs for an item and many who ship all together and actually add all the items shipping costs together so you end up paying full shipping on 2-3 items and they ship it all in one cheap box and make a huge profit from shipping.

    Ebay is still flawed. IMHO but the new rule will help get rid of the bad sellers.

  16. ebay seller says:

    this will be ebays loss what good are the buyers when there is no sellers i will be leaving ebay and selling else where now this system may suit most transactions on ebay but as a seller of cars and other large items on ebay where i get nothing but time wasters non payers and people wining auctions with out turning up they cost me a fortune and now they can win my auction not show and leave me a negative feedback and i can leave them a postive with out a dout this will be ebays bigest mistake yes i can report them for non payment but whats the point in mainting my 100% feedback and reputation will now be impossible as i know many motortrade sellers who have allready left ebay because of this system and more will leave, ebay might decide to back pedal on this once they see profits hit hard as you all know fees on large items like cars are big fees ebay have signed there own death with this once im gone i wont be back my ebay fees are huge bye ebay and hello autotrader

  17. ken says:

    From now on, check out all the buyer’s feedbacks, because I can still write something nasty about the buyer and leave it as a positive feedback, which means positive feedbacks means shit now on ebay for the buyers! Unless I see all the positive feedbacks are positive then I will trust the buyer, otherwise I will look at their positive feedbacks just as any other feedbacks.

  18. ken says:

    Without the sellers, there will be no buyers. Once sellers start to leave, buyers won’t be too far behind, because they won’t have anything to buy or to choose from. It’s like walk into a huge department store, and you find less and less merchandise everyday. Would you still go there? Smart move Feebay! I think Ubid and iOffer will benefit from this change the most…….lol

  19. Joe says:

    What B.S. So now we as sellers are stripped of one of our most important assets as Ebay sellers: Leaving negative feedback to terrible buyers. That’s terrible, because I have near-perfect feedback, and just hate the thoughts of some troublemaker leaving me negative feedback just because they felt like it. That’s, in part, why leaving negative feedback is such a valuable tool to us buyers: for protection of some malicious idiot just leaving us bad feedback because they could. Thanks a lot, Ebay. I don’t think I’ll sell on your site anytime soon. What a sham!

  20. Joe says:

    Sorry. I made a mistake. I meant to say “value tool for us sellers.”

  21. Bobby says:

    Ebay is pure sack of shit… yes sack of shit.. first they make paypal and like screwing you over by putting funds on hold for many ppl then they charge you fees that are outrageous first on ebay and then forcing you to pay by paypal and fees there too… someone take over ebay …

  22. Annette says:

    This is total BS! After seven years, I’m leaving ebay! I so often cancel bids from buyers who have too many negatives or they look like a problem! I’ve been burned too many times with chargebacks and losing my money along with my merchandise and ebay fees and shipping and paypal fees and so on, I like to know who I’m dealing with and selling too! I would think if the buyer is entitled to know about the type of person they are buying from, the seller should have the same right to know who they are selling too! I just paid my last ebay bill, over $1300 for the month! What as shame, I’m leaving ebay! I was going to stay on ebay and maybe use it for buying but I’m not even going to do that, this is a shame but it will catch up with ebay! They had a great thing and this will really be a big negative for them, good luck to any sellers who stay :)

  23. Ebayer since 1997 says:

    All you sellers that are complaining are the problem. Where else can you have your products seen by millions for a small % of your profits? Use PayPal as the only form of payment and pass the little fee on to the buyer you idiots, they’ll pay it, then you won’t have to worry about nonpayment before you ship. I never buy from a seller that doesn’t allow PayPal; they usually have had trouble in the past and can’t use PayPal. So suck it up Sellers and follow the new rules or watch good sellers get all your business…….

  24. Jason says:

    I think this a great move and a big f*%$ you to all the sellers that kept us in a choke hold for all these years. As soon as you get your money we should have gotten feedback. Maybe if you were all better at what you do you have to worry about getting negative feedback. So I’m have no pity for you vicious, ethicless bastards.

  25. Martin says:

    @Ebayer since 1997
    There are alternatives you know. And on top of that there are much cheaper alternatives. I’ve already shifted most of my sales off eBay and onto a trading forum where I pay absolutely no fees (other than PayPal) and do just as good business. I know I’m not alone and plenty of other sellers are migrating away from eBay just the same. The massive fees they charge sellers just for listing an item were bad enough alone, not to mention the final value fee and Paypal fees that then get tacked on. This is going to be the final nail in the coffin for a lot of sellers. And don’t be under the impression that all buyers are genuine legit people. Plenty of them have left me Bad feedback just to for what seems like their own personal twisted pleasure. I go out of my way to make sure my buyers are happy and get what they bought but some people are just petty/nasty.

    ?? are you serious?. Exactly who are you going to be buying stuff from when most of the genuine sellers jump ship?. Buyers had enough powers as it was. People should use their common sense and the original feedback system to judge whether or not a seller deserves their money. Soon it’ll only be the Hong Kong sellers who couldn’t care less about their feedback that trade on eBay.

    Big mistake by eBay IMO. New eBay feedback system = FAIL

  26. jesse says:

    See the point of the change is so that when good paying buyers pay for a item instantly they should get there feedback instantly. the Seller should not hold feedback hostage until they get there feedback. After the buyer pays they should get good feedback their half of the deal is done. Now its up to the seller to prove his buisness and not earn a negative. If the item is as described and shipped withing the quoted time then they should have no fear of a negative. Its that SIMPLE!!! No reason to leave a buyer negative feedback if they don’t pay that’s what reporting nonpaying bidder is for. Plus sellers have the option of how ppl can pay for their items. so no need to leave negative feedback for slow money orders either……so no reason ever to have to leave a negative feedback for buyers.

  27. Beth says:

    I right now am in a situation with a buyer on ebay who I believe is trying to scam me out of 525$, I payed over 2 weeks ago and still no item , and I ALSO notice he hasnt left me feedback even thou I payed THAY DAY. I will destroy his ebay expierience if he screws me thats for sure.

  28. adrienne says:

    I understand all the buyers’ frustrations, but this bites the sellers back in the ass. I currently have a buyer who is insistent that *I* decided to not ship them something, despite showing them tracking information – which shows I also PAID for shipping already. This item got lost in the mail, yet this buyer began to harass me on eBay and PayPal until he got his money back. I gave him positive feedback when he paid immediately, but now have no positive experience with him, and am stuck giving him false feedback. There is no protection for the seller in this case AT ALL, because now the seller is in a position where the buyers hold all the control over feedback and can blackmail regarding feedback.

    In either case, feedback is a double edged sword – it’s supposed to work in favor of honest selling/buying, but instead acts as a bargaining chip. There is no such thing as a mistake anymore – I’m automatically accused of trying to scam a buyer when I had nothing to do with it, and can’t do anything about it (obviously, why would I show proof of shipping/payment if I was trying to scam someone OUT of that money?) And, to top it all off, unpaid item strikes aren’t listed publicly, and while they work nicely in those cases, I’d still like to know if who I’m selling to is honest or not.

    I disagree with this policy, and wish there was some way to have it “both ways.”

  29. Ron Wimbish says:

    The buyer should not be allowed to post negative feedback about the seller until he complains to the seller first. He or she should give the seller a chance to make amends before blasting out their issues in public. Without the sellers there are no buyers & both should be protected.

    To prevent fraud a buyer should have one login for paypal and then be given a transaction number for each transaction with a encryption key. That way no one can just hack into a paypal account and dispense cash without that key.

    The sellers should be verified to the home address before being allowed to sell on ebay just like they do when you get a merchants account.

    It’s as if a bunch of kids are running ebay from their Moms basement.

  30. Terry oates says:

    I have been a seller for five and a half years and nearly 750 positive feedback and no negitive but have nearly stoped selling now,because since negitive feedback has been stopped for buyers,i have had 17 no shows no contact etc.
    numptys just bid for fun because they have no fear of neg feedback or is it because they have to get out bed to pick what i sell ? and now it does not matter if they can’t be bothered.e-bay wake up you are losing the pepole that put the food on your table,buyers don’t pay your bills!!!! my average monthly bill was approx £200.00 not a lot but they all ad up,and quickly.

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