Yet another eBay rant

OK, so I haven’t been doing a lot of hunting on eBay lately because I haven’t had a lot of money, but every once in a while I pop on just to see if there’s anything I haven’t yet gotten of the Disney character I collect. (He’s a relatively minor character, and there’s not a lot of stuff out there with him, so he’s a cheap collectible, and every once in a while something new pops up that I haven’t seen before.)

Lo and behold, last week I found a new figurine I hadn’t seen before, so I bid on it. The seller actually had two auctions up of the same figurine, so I figured she bought a lot of them or something - not unusual for eBay. I had to bid against someone, but hooray! I won, and for under $10. Neat! A new addition to my collection, and a bargain to boot.

So I get my notification, pay promptly through PayPal, and get my response back from the seller (I will say “he” but I don’t know what gender they may be). “Uh, what auction is this? I sold this to someone else.”

Excuse me?

Then a second e-mail. “Oh, no, wait - I accidentally listed the same auction twice. Um, sorry.”


Now, how someone who obviously sells a LOT over eBay can’t keep track of what auctions correspond with what items, or even how many items they have listed, is beyond me. Granted, it’s a quick business, but still, you’d think one corresponding auction number to each item would be a simple matter.

But, you know what? Fine. People make mistakes. To his credit, he offered to either refund my money or give me another figure and throw in another one free, but he was offering me two characters I have no interest in, so I wrote back and said I was really disappointed and he could refund my money. (Um, well, actually, I didn’t just say “really disappointed” - I was kind of ticked at the time that I didn’t get what I paid for and what was promised me, so I said something along the lines of I’d take his word for it that it was an accident, but he’s lucky I don’t report him to eBay for fraud. Hey, I felt I got gyped, but I got over it - I wouldn’t really do that unless he was a jerk about it.) So he refunded my money.

Now that left us with the matter of feedback. eBay is based on feedback, taking “let the buyer beware” directly to the hands of the consumers. My choices in this matter were to leave positive, neutral, or negative feedback. I looked at his record - 207 feedbacks, and every one of them was positive. That’s a pretty good record. So I didn’t want to leave him negative, because he was quick to realize his error and refund my money. But at the same time, I didn’t really think I could leave positive, because I wasn’t a satisfied buyer. And not leaving feedback at all didn’t seem appropriate, either - as an eBay buyer and seller, I consider it the responsibility of everyone to leave feedback. So I decided to go with neutral, saying that he listed the wrong item and didn’t realize it until after I’d paid, but he quickly refunded my money. That’s fair, isn’t it? It’s certainly the truth, and I could have been vindictive if I’d wanted to.

Evidently, he didn’t care for my reply, so in retaliation, he left me negative feedback, with some nasty comments about being a “complainer.”


Listen, you goat-felching bottom-dweller, you post an auction that doesn’t even exist, you don’t catch it until after I’ve paid, and you’re bitching because I left you neutral feedback? Your 207 other positives aren’t good enough for you? Hell, neutrals don’t even affect your overall rating, so what are you bitching about? I was honest, and you leave me negative feedback? WTF? Keep your fucking precious perfect positive status, you jerk, and next time don’t double click on the submit button.

Fortunately, we’re both able to reply to feedback left for us. Of course in response to my feedback he was polite and apologetic, but in the feedback he left for me he was vindictive and petty. I basically repeated what I wrote for him in response to what he wrote for me, and that’s fine.

Whatever. I’m learning a lot about some of the knee-jerks out there anymore. When I first started on eBay I used to get pissed because people would put “$4.00 shipping” in their auctions and the package would come with $1.63 of postage. Now I understand that people usually code it “shipping and handling” because it’s easier to set a flat rate for postage across all their auctions than try to figure out how much postage would cost for each individual item. It took me a while to get into the groove of things, I understand that now with a little more experience, but with idiots like this who can’t even keep their auctions straight it’s sometimes just a pain in the ass to deal with it.

Of course, I’ll keep shopping on eBay - I gotta get my fix. :smiley: And my new challenge is to find that particular figurine again!


You could have just not left feedback at all. Considering that (a) you were willing to chalk it up as an honest mistake and (b) in the end, no sale occured, why not just simply not leave feedback?
Zev Steinhardt

If that’s your worst eBay experience, consider yourself lucky. I paid for a $75 item, only to have the seller vanish off the face of the earth. Never sent the item and stopped answering my emails. I filed a complaint with eBay and they did nothing - didn’t even shut down the guy’s account. I was able to file an insurance claim, and after the deductable, got about $50 back.

Another time, I got in the winning bid on a musical instrument at a pretty good price. After a week of not hearing from the seller, I got a phone call saying she “talked to her daughter’s band director and decided to keep it”. (Translation: found out it was worth more, and didn’t want to sell it at the agreed-upon price). Again, I complained to eBay, and received absolutely no response from them at all.

By the way, I don’t think people really consider the “neutral” category to be benign. If I were unsatisfied with a transaction, but still felt that the person had dealt with me honestly, had simply made an honest mistake, and sincerely tried to rectify the situation, I would probably just refrain from leaving feedback at all. You don’t have to leave feedback. A neutral comment has the effect of looking like a black mark on one’s record.

Did he or did he not make a mistake that resulted in me being an unsatisfied buyer? I’m not saying it wasn’t an honest one, but the fact remains that a mistake was made, and since eBay prides itself on its members rating members system, I feel obliged to leave feedback for every auction, and to be *truthful about it - that’s how the system works. However, I will admit taht if I’d realized that one piddly neutral remark out of 207 positive ones would have pissed him off this much, I probably would have reconsidered for this one transaction.


I feel like the feedback system is a joke a lot of the time. I’m like zev where I just don’t leave feedback if it’s going to be negative, especially if the seller hasn’t yet left feedback for me. I don’t buy very often and so even one negative would look pretty damning. I figure a lot of other people find themselves caught in the same dilemma. What I do when I read a seller’s feedback, is try to read what the positives are actually saying. I look for “item as described” “great e-mail/communication” “fast shipping”. If I see a lot of those, I figure the seller is probably okay. If I see a lot of “thank you” type positives, I don’t necessarily see those as a recommendation. Not 100% accurate, but I doubt someone would leave the feedback comments I’m looking for if they were unsatisfied.

In your case I don’t see how you could have avoided it, even reading the seller’s feedback. Too bad they don’t leave you more space to comment on his negative feedback.

Experiences like Esprix’s make me wonder how often the guy might do this sort of thing, though. If the seller is a total space-case, or is overextending himself on making too many sales and can’t keep track, etc., that might be useful for a potential buyer to know. If you didn’t leave a feedback about it, who knows how many other people might not leave feedback about similar things? It all depends on the situation though, I guess.

[hijack]I’m peeved about eBay because I’ve been outbid at the last second on a gravy boat from a particular china pattern three times now by the same bidder. Why the fuck do you need three gravy boats, bitch - I don’t have any and am trying to get pieces of my wedding china, which we never got the ‘discontinued pattern’ notice on. I’ve extensively searched the web and not seen the pieces I need, so I’m watching eBay. Yeah, yeah, I know - “bid more”; I can’t afford to right now, maybe after this coming business trip gets refunded to me, if I see another available.[/hijack]


I guess I don’t understand your point, then. On the one hand, you seem to be saying that you don’t think a neutral comment is bad, but on the other hand, it sounds like you’re angry at the seller for double-listing, and think he deserved to have his record tarnished. And I don’t get why you feel obliged to leave feedback for every auction; there’s no rule saying you have to.

I’ve always felt that eBay should re-vamp their feedback model. They really need to give you the opportunity to answer a number of objective questions about the transaction, rather than just give an overall subjective rating. As you experienced, Esprix, the cranky seller gave you a blot on you record when objectively you were the victim.

I’m thinking of something along the lines of:

Seller Comments

Did buyer contact you -

  1. within 24 hours
  2. 24 - 48 hours
  3. over 48 hours
  4. Never

Did buyer pay you with -

  1. Paypal
  2. Check
  3. Money Order
  4. Other
  5. No payment received

etc. etc.

I think this would make the feedback more useful. It seems to me that every time there is any problem with a transaction we always go through the same hand wringing over leaving neutral or negative feedback. Because we know that we would get the same back as retribution.

Not a perfect system by any means.

I can’t decide which is worse–that such a service exists, or that I (as a pretty decent sniper myself) didn’t think of it first. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m curious, though–what does do if two people after the same item seek sniper services? Do they just say, “Sorry, we’re sniping the George Bush pencil-topper for someone else”?

OK, I’m hijacking, here, so let me just say in reference to the OP: I, too, think you’re lucky if this has been your worst eBay incident, but you’re justified in being disappointed.

On the contrary. I’ll leave negative feedback where it’s deserved. I’ve had customers who simply refuse to pay and do not answer emails. If they don’t respond after a week (and I feel I’m being generous in giving them a week) then they get a negative.

However, if I were in Esprix’s shoes, I wouldn’t have left a feedback at all. Firstly, it seems that it was an honest mistake and he did offer to make good or give a full refund (which he did). In doing so, he’s lost money on the deal. Firstly, he lost a cut of the Paypal fee and secondly, he’s lost the Ebay fee (both the listing fee and the Ending fee). So the seller’s already been punished for his mistake.

Of course, if you have reason to believe he did it purposely (I can’t see why he would, however), then let 'em have it.

Zev Steinhardt

I’ve been shopping Ebay for years and have had some bad experiences. I’ve never left a neg probably because I’m afraid of retaliation. I’m with the people who don’t leave feedback if the situation is less than positive. What I’m finding odd is that the OP said he wasn’t a satisfied buyer. The transaction never happened! Not only was he not satisfied, he wasn’t even a buyer. So why bother to leave feedback? BTW, this just happened to me with a transaction. Ordered a book, got a notice that the sale was cancelled because the seller “lent the book to someone and never got it back.” I’m supposed to leave feedback but won’t because the transaction never happened. Mistakes happen.

Not at all. I could have posted negative feedback, but chose to post neutral feedback (and I certainly wasn’t going to post positive feedback), because it was a 50/50 deal - he made a mistake, but he wasn’t a dick about it. He is the one who felt his spotless positive record was tarnished by one neutral comment, and his retaliation was to post a negative feedback about me after I posted my neutral feedback. I don’t want to tarnish his record (which I don’t think a neutral feedback does), but I also wanted to tell the truth about my experience in the auction. I am, however, mad that he double listed, because I’m the one that got gyped out of something I wanted, bid for, and won… and then didn’t get.

Again, I know I didn’t have to, but I feel that I ought to, because that’s the way eBay is run.


I send money order. Seller says they never received money order, and could I stop payment and send another? I wait a week, check with money order company, and find out money order has already been cashed.

One week later, seller sends item via registered mail. Whatever…

I entered into a contractual obligation with the seller that when I won the auction, I would exchange the final price for the item he offered. I paid him that money. He did not provide me with the item I paid for; in fact, he committed fraud by any reasonable definition. Now, granted, it seems to have been an honest mistake, and he promptly refunded my money when he saw his error, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t keep up his end of the deal.


Practically speaking, you should leave feedback after about 4 months (if you can remember to). In most cases, the other party won’t know how to retaliate.

eBay’s advertised 90-days is deceiving.

I posted ‘how to do it’ at

Apparently, cut-n-paste Google groups search links don’t work.

So, over at Google Groups, search for gyan interesting feedback discovery.

Sorry 'bout that zev, I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. I’d like to say I don’t hesitate to leave negative feedback, but I do.

As far as Esprix, the situation he described is one where I would be tempted to leave neutral feedback as well. He entered into a contract with the seller and the contract was not fulfilled. If I called in an order to a store and paid for the order, went down to the store to pick up an item and found it was out of stock, I’d feel less inclined to recommend the store to friends. I wouldn’t bad mouth the store if my money was refunded, but I’d certainly add a good dose of caveat emptor in recommendations to others. I agree that others may have had worse experiences on eBay than this particular one, but I really do think the neutral is a reasonable feedback.

That would be my eBay rant. I buy something specific, too, and the S&H charges are always about $5-6. Then I get my package, and it has a postage sticker of $2.00 or less.
WTF? They’re charging me $4 for 2 feet of bubble wrap?

It’s “handling charges,” which is code-speak for “I attempt to make more money by overcharging you for postage.” However, it’s pretty standard, and I imagine it’s handy for people who sell at high volume to just have a blanket P&H charge rather than trying to figure it out for each item. Still, when it’s several dollars between the amount you paid and the amount of postage, it burns you.

If Esprix doesn’t mind, I’m just gonna tack my own little gripe about Ebay sellers to the bottom here, because it really doesn’t merit a thread all it’s own:

Sellers who get my goddam money within motherfucking hours after the end of the fucking auction but still fucking wait for me to take the initiative of leaving them a positive can suck the fucking dog. That’s right, asswipe: I already sent you my money. What the fuck are you waiting for??? I don’t owe you shit, so leave the fucking feedback, chump. Fuckers.

Whew. Thanks.