eBay Feedback policies

I bought something on eBay recently, and had a weird conversation with the seller:

I have not bothered replying further. I have no objection to being the first to post feedback if that’s how it works out, but once told that their feedback is contingent upon my leaving feedback (presumably positive feedback, but they didn’t go so far as to say that so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt) made it feel rather like a ransom.

It’s not a big deal, just something that I find curious. I realise this is a common practice, but something about it seems slightly wrong to me, so I end up not leaving much feedback. As far as I’m concerned, the moment I hit “Pay Now” on that PayPal button, I’m done; I’ve fulfilled my part of the arrangement 100% and deserve feedback.

Any thoughts on the practice?

I think it’s garbage, but I understand it, too. Sellers are captive to negative feedback, and if they’ve left a positive already then there’s no way to retaliate against unreasonable bidders who leave negative feedback for things outside the seller’s control.

I just wouldn’t leave feedback, and explain to the seller that it’s inappropriate to withhold feedback and yet request it of the buyer simultaneously. If they’re asking a favor of you, then they should leave feedback, too.

I’m guessing that, based on your tone, they’re expecting a negative from you.

Actually, eBay changed its policies some time back so that now sellers can only leave positive feedback for buyers. As a seller your only options are: positive feedback, or no feedback. If a buyer refuses to pay or whatever, you can ding their record for that, but that’s separate from the feedback system. So what this seller is doing doesn’t even make any sense.

In this case I wouldn’t leave feedback either. I don’t care for sellers that get pushy about feedback in general, and particularly not when they’re holding it “hostage”. I mean, come on.

Not at all. The transaction was concluded perfectly - they’ve nothing to fear. If they hadn’t actually bugged me about it, I’d have left positive feedback already for them. It wasn’t an issue until they turned it into one (and, to be fair, it’s barely an issue now - more just a curious conversation point).

They’re being dickish, IMO. Once I receive valid funds, I post positive feedback immediately. There is no other expectation from the buyer, and their so-called “policy” is just low-level blackmail. Future problems with shipping/returns/etc. are resolved through eBay and have nothing to do with the initial transaction. I really dislike the present feedback system, since the seller can’t post negative against a deadbeat buyer, but that doesn’t mean I won’t honor the system.

The transaction isn’t over when you (the buyer) pay up.

You know you’re not a scammer/psycho who’s going to claim the item never arrived and try to reverse payment, or complain that the item was not as described, or any of the other evil/stupid/insane things that eBay buyers do every day. The seller does not know that.

The transaction is over when you receive the item and are satisfied with it. Until then, anything is possible. It’s perfectly reasonable for a seller to withhold feedback until the goods are received.

Yes, Shakester, but this seller is withholding feedback until they see what kind of feedback they get from Candyman74. They aren’t providing feedback on the transaction, they’re providing feedback on the rating they get from the buyer.

The entire transaction isn’t over, but as the buyer, your end of the transaction certainly is. If the funds are coming from a verified address with Paypal, there is no reason for the seller not to post feedback. As for claims that the item didn’t arrive, I place the burden of insurance on the buyer and post a disclaimer that I am not responsible for items once they enter the postal system. Most savvy sellers do this to mitigate those sorts of problems.

I actually understand this policy. The buyer controls when the transaction ends because they have to pay for the item, receive the item, and be happy with the item. All that could take weeks to conclude. The seller is just wanting to ensure the buyer isn’t going to start complaining after the item is in the mail. So, once the buyer says they’re happy then the seller can say the same. Until then the transaction isn’t over.

The seller ensures that the buyer won’t start complaining by providing an accurate description of the item being sold, i.e., being an honest person instead of a douchebag, and then taking all normal precautions to ensure the item arrives undamaged. Some people will complain no matter what: that’s what refunds are for. I always specify that a refund will only be given if the item is returned in the same condition it was sent in.

This is no different that doing business in an actual store. Once you pay the cashier, the store is satisfied that your end of the bargain is complete. If stores provided feedback, you would recieve a positive review immediately. If the item turned out to be defective, you would return it for refund. If the store refused it, or wouldn’t repair it, you then might have recourse through various legal means or provide negative comments on a website. None of that changes the fact that you acted in good faith to pay for the item and deserved the positive feedback.

Now I’m exhausted.

As a buyer, I’ve come across this several times recently. I always pay within minutes of the end of the auction. I resent being blackmailed. As a buyer, I could send the purchaser an email saying that I won’t leave feedback until they do. Then, as the OP said, you’ll both end up going round in circles.

I’ve also noticed that, as a seller, some transactions that I know have gone smoothly (even to the extent of receiving emails to thank me for the excellent service) haven’t been given any feedback.

I’m rather losing faith in the whole feedback system.

I just shrug off sellers who don’t leave feedback. It’s not like it’s a big deal. Recently, I left positive feedback for a buyer, even though he failed to include sufficient postage. In the course of some email back and forth, it became apparent that he was very unfamiliar with ebay (he had zero feedback), and even with the USPS. The item was eligible for Media Rate, so that’s how I sent it, along with an explanation of how things work on ebay.

The seller has a lot more to lose in getting bad feedback. I’m sure they would rather have no feedback than negative. The feedback is for the whole transaction, not just the payment.

If a seller has negative feedback buyers may hesitate. If a buyer has negative feedback there are usually no consequences unless the seller puts buyer rules on his auction.

eBay is slanted towards buyers, so much so that sellers can’t even leave negative feedback for buyers any more. What sort of system is that?

If a seller has negative feedback, he usually deserves it, and buyers should hesitate. This isn’t supposed to be a scratch-my-back tit-for-tat type of thing.

I’m sure they do. But if they deserve bad feedback, they deserve bad feedback. Any attempts to control that are just a bit iffy in my book.

Sure, it’s a buyer’s market, and I guess that can suck. On the positive side, sellers get to sell their stuff easily and for decent prices, which most sellers regard as a fairly good thing, so it’s not all bad.

If they were actually trying to hold you ransom for feedback, that would be stupid, as you have the trump card: “Give me feedback, or I’ll give you negative feedback.” You as a buyer have nothing to lose, since you can’t get negative feedback, and, as long as your score is over 0 or 1, no one really cares.

Still, I understand why they’d rather you leave feedback first, as feedback is often the way that buyers are jerks. They will leave negative feedback without trying to resolve problems with the seller first. They will contact the seller, but will try to get something that wasn’t in the agreement, and then give negative feedback when the seller doesn’t acquiesce.

It’s just stupid as a policy, as the buyer can easily force your hand.

BTW, I heard that you get a lower feedback score if the person doesn’t give you five stars on everything. If so, that sucks, as many people onlygive out the highest score if you went above and beyond, and there’s nothing indicating that four stars (or any lower number, for that matter) is actually a negative.

This is correct, it’s also against eBay policy to hold buyers “hostage” for feedback. By all means report the seller to eBay and leave negative feedback.

As stated, the seller can’t leave negative feedback.

The whole reason the system changed is that too many sellers were doing this.

Feedback and ratings are two different, but equally important things. Feedback is an all or nothing thing. Either it’s positive or it’s not and sellers strive for 100% positive because anything less can potentially hurt business. Buyers see your feedback % right there in the listing and it can make or break you.

The rating system is, as I said, equally important, but buyers are completely unaware of just how crucial good feedback there can be. If you maintain 98% positive feedback or above AND meet a certain threshold in your ratings (something like 4.6 or 4.8 out of 5 in all categories) you become a power seller or a top rated seller. These can give you anywhere from 5 to 20% discounts on your eBay fees, which can be enormous.
So a 4/5 can seem really good, but to an eBay seller it’s really hurtful to their overall rating and it’s something that eBay doesn’t advertise as being hurtful.