eBay to Stop Sellers from Posting Negative Buyer Ratings

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eBay has announced that beginning in May, sellers will no longer be able to leave negative – and perhaps not even neutral – feedback about buyers, even though buyers can still leave scathing comments about sellers. This is, eBay claims, because the possiblity that sellers could post bad things about them scares a lot of buyers off. And, of course, much more than would be the case if there were a decline in sellers, if nobody is buying anything, eBay has no model (or revenue).

“The number one reason buyers cited for decreasing or ceasing their activity on eBay was negative unwarranted retaliatory feedback they received from sellers. There has been a four-fold increase in this over the last several years. It’s cited as a bigger problem than even not receiving shipment.”

It makes sense that rogue buyers are probably much less of a problem than rogue sellers. But it’s not unheard of for there to be problematic buyers, and then there are always the scammers who want to buy something, pay for it with “this check that’s for more than the price – please send some back to me and keep the rest for your troubles, and oh yes, it’s drawn on the Bank of Dead Relatives, Lagos, Nigeria.”

Lamented one person, “This move is horrible for honest sellers. There is no shortage of unethical buyers out there who will make false damage claims, or state that the wrong item was sent, an item was missing, etc. With the new policy, unethical buyers can blackmail the seller into getting what they want. Also, this gives a buyer the power of giving an unjustified negative/neutral even if they get the product, but are unhappy with it for any reason.”

[It should be noted here that if you buy something on eBay, and it arrives damaged, the insurance – which eBay sellers often require – goes to the seller, not you. Read all about eBay buying and selling and shipping insurance here.]

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Still, many eBay buyers are cheering the move.

“Good for Ebay,” exclaimed one person commenting on the announcement. “Finally a smart move on their part. I have 4 negative feedbacks in my entire history. All left in retaliation for me trying to give them honest feedback and warn potential buyers from buying from them and wasting their time/money like I did.”

“I’m sick of Sellers emailing me post-auction stating “leave me feedback and I will leave you feedback”. Bollocks. I’ve paid, I’ve completed my end of the deal, therefore feedback is due now!” added another.


As the announcement is making its way around the Internet boards, stories are also coming out of the woodwork which illustrate the problem that eBay says it is trying to address with the change. Stories of ruined eBay reputations on the part of buyers whose otherwise pristine feedback ratings have been sullied by sellers in a tit-for-tat retaliation for negative feedback.

Shared one such buyer, “Once I bought a game from a lady on eBay, but when I paid she never sent the game. I left negative feedback like “I paid immediately but weeks later she never sent item and won’t respond to emails”. She then left me negative feedback “Buyer is mean and not very understanding”.

Lamented another, “I had a terrible experience with a seller, and for the first time ever left negative feedback. You know what they did? They left the exact same feedback I left them word for word, and followed it up with an email stating that if I didn’t remove my negative feedback they were going to keep mine there.”‘

So what about you eBay buyers out there – do you have a story about negative feedback gone wrong that you want to share? And how about you eBay sellers – how do you feel about this move?

Let us know.

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21 thoughts on “eBay to Stop Sellers from Posting Negative Buyer Ratings

  1. Ok I sit and read the feedback left and got to number 8 which he wrote ( iv’e read all the comments from cry baby sellers, if they were honest and sent what people paid for on time , not weeks or months later or never send item at all then they would not have to worry feedback.
    Comment by john — 2/27/2008 @ 7:04 am.. Lets start by saying you are putting all sellers into what you might have had a bad seller in past as all sellers..Not all are bad most as a Ebay Buyer and Seller have found to be nice a reasonable. As a buyer ebay states we will be afraid to buy anything on ebay because we might get bad feedback thats BS and we all know it because if that was the case why even go to ebays sight to look?? I read all feedback from buyers and sellers and the reasons and the responce. If you take time to read things it would be clear. As a seller I will no longer sell on ebay even know between buying and selling I got 100%. I feel if you cant leave a fair responce to a dead beat buyer whats the point in that, its not even fair to a seller. For that matter why even sell anything might as well list it and give it away for free since you got scammer who like say in other post they get things as stated and listed wanna get it for free or get credits just to get over. When I sell and a person buys from me they can contact me. Heck I even called the people to explain things and made sure everything was right and they got it ok. Ebay makes sellers pay insertions fees, final value fees, and a whole mess load a fees. Why not make buyers fees. I promise you if there was one there wouldn’t be so many dead beat buyers. Buyers who agree with this think of it this way. You say oh well i didnt get what was listed or damage if true fine negative feedback put yourself in a sellers shoe. You sold something and shipped it out in time, and you know it. Then bang scammer says oh this wasnt right and this was wrong when you know it nots your stuck because not matter if you right or wrong now ebay has you as wrong. Think about it in reverse shoes before you judge all. Sellers can be jerks and do shady things but not are. Fact most aint. Feel free to comment about what i say but this is from both sides of the fence not one.

  2. Hi all!

    As a fresh www.theinternetpatrol.com user i only want to say hello to everyone else who uses this site :-D

  3. I’ve had good experiences on Ebay for the most part. However, I too have become the victim of feedback hostage sellers, unwarranted negative retaliation and even the seller not shipping my item and taking my money. Thank GOD Paypal had gaurenteed the item. None the less, it took over a month to get my $40 back through the claim process. sweetbabygirl999 was the latest bad seller I encounted that took my money and ran. I am glad ebay went this route, but I wish they would ban sellers who don’t deliver the goods that they take the money for.

  4. Ebay is the worse. I am a new seller who encountered the buyer from hell. She had perfect feedback, but clearly after my interaction with her had been able to get sellers to relent to her demands to lower prices /give credit back to her after she received merchandise. She attempted this same farce with me, tried to extort a 30 dollar refund… she wanted me to resole used shoes that were listed as such, filed a snad claim which she lost only to file a negative against my perfect feedback record. All I could do was read it in awe.What a waste….. there are horrible buyers out there …and feedback, while it is a good indicator of a buyer’s track record..it still is not a guaranteed. Ebay should allow sellers the opportunity to leave appropriate feedback about buyers .

  5. “If eBay would have made it tougher for sellers not to get away with delinquencies, I would be all for the new feedback laws.”
    Sorry when I wrote sellers I actually meant buyers.

  6. I am an eBay seller. I have been selling for over a year now, and I never had problems with buyers. Now after the change in one month I have gotten buyers who bid and then they simply do not pay.

    They just like the trill of the bidding. So now that they do not have to worry about feedback, they do not respect the seller. I have a 100% feedback score, and I have always been honest and kind to all of my buyers. Even taking the time to answer their questions even when they do not make bids.

    Now Is no longer smooth sailing. I feel every time someone’s wins a bid, that they are not going to make a payment.

    If eBay would have made it tougher for sellers not to get away with delinquencies, I would be all for the new feedback laws.

    But many of us small sellers are just being driven out of business by behaviors like these.

    Even when I place a dispute. Sometimes the eBay system does not honors it, and I do not get my selling fees back.

    It is sad. I will have to look for another place.

  7. Unfortunately, the view on this topic depends upon whether you’re predominantly a buyer or predominantly a seller. If everyone was honest then we wouldn’t need a feedback system at all; the reality is that there are bad sellers AND bad bidders. I do think, however, that this is a step too far by ebay. So sellers can’t even give a negative to non-paying bidders? I also resent the fact that ebay (effectively) force sellers to accept Paypal – if it’s mandatory to use it, be upfront and include it in the fees.

  8. I have been doing this for 8 years. One half of the people on this earth like to say bad things to feel better about themselves. This is going to be fun to watch. Every seller is going to keep re-newing names because only brand new sellers will look good. Just like brand new sellers have good records (obviously) and get better position with “Best Match.”

  9. Buyers are not the only ones who fear feedback retaliation. Why do you think many sellers wait for the buyer to leave feedback first. As a seller I quit leaving non paying bidders negative feedback because every time I did they left negative feedback for me stating such things as I sent a check and they wouldn’t cash it. The transaction is not complete as soon as payment is made. It is not complete until the customer receives the merchandise and their payment has cleared with no problems. Even Paypal payments can be charged back to the seller. And then there are buyers who want to leave negative feedback for things like the box was bent or the shipping was too high even though they knew shipping costs in advance. I do not make money on shipping, shipping costs are just high especially with the recent USPS changes. There is no way for me to control that. I am both a buyer and a seller on Ebay and while I have never had a seller threaten me with bad feedback many buyers do it. They complain about an item. I offer a refund after return. But no they want to keep the item and receive their money back. Is this honest? The only thing Ebay is accomplishing is giving the dishonest buyers a license to try to receive merchandise for free by threatening negative feedback. You will see a boom in negative feedback after this change begins and there will be no winners.

  10. This is a great move. Retaliatory negatives are worst for ebay users who have few or no positives to offset a negative simply because they are new or don’t use ebay that much. KEY POINT: GOOD SELLERS ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO HAVE OFFSETTING POSITIVES THAN GOOD BUYERS BECAUSE SELLING IS TYPICALLY A HIGH-VOLUME BUSINESS AND BUYING TYPICALLY IS NOT A HIGH-VOLUME BUSINESS.

  11. Let’s not even mention the “buyers” who run up the bid on an item and then never pay. And eBay won’t do a damned thing about that either…

  12. Buyers on ebay think that sellers do not have problems with bad buyers whose main purpose in life is to steal everything they need, it happens daily are we suppose to allow these scumbags who are running rampant on ebay to steal our profits, no we should not. Ebay is punishing all sellers because they want a cut of the powersellers handling charges and cannot get it so bc is retaliating because the bonus checks are not big enough.Buyers who steal should be exposed not given a tool to work better. The idea that there are only bad sellers and not bad buyers is absurd. Ebay will go down in May of 2008.

  13. I had an experience where I was held “feedback hostage” over a coat. The seller said they sold “what was pictured unless otherwise stated in the ad” I bought a pristine antique Kersey blue navy pea coat from “stoptosell” only to have a new issue type coat sent which isn’t worth as much as the antique Kersey was. I left an honest neutral for the bait & switch they pulled & they left me a neutral because of it. On the flip side of the coin my dad who also sells a little here & there like I do, was left a negative after selling a sony PS2 that was non-working with a new stand & cables. The ad plainly stated “NON-WORKING” in capital letters & the buyers feedback said “lied about everything”….how? He got a NON-WORKING PS2…the only way for it to have been a LIE is if he had gotten a WORKING ONE! For under $5 he should have been happy! Now I hold feedback when I sell something too, it’s the only way to be able to respond & when that can’t be done any longer I’ll quit selling & BUYING on eBay. They will have gotten their last penny from me if they follow through with their proposed changes. eBay is turning into a scam itself & is overdue for a boycott or a lawsuit over defamation of character.

  14. iv’e read all the comments from cry baby sellers, if they were honest and sent what people paid for on time , not weeks or months later or never send item at all then they would not have to worry feedback.

  15. To EJ– ok, you bought the grill and the seller didn’t properly pack it, so it was damaged when it arrived. Next move: contact the seller through the eBay messaging service. OK, let’s assume the seller doesn’t respond. Since you have a transaction with the seller, ou can look the seller’s telephone number through eBay and call him (let’s just say it’s a guy). OK, let’s say he’s a jerk. Next move: report seller to eBay, then contact your credit card company if you paid him direct, or file a claim if you paid by PayPal. Paypal will side with the customer in 99% of the cases. Next move: go ahead, leave the jerk some negative feedback. OK, he leaves one for you. Next move: add a note to your feedback to explain what happened. I think people will get the idea.

  16. well, glad to hear it…i stopped even browsing ebay b/c of a crackpot seller who thought his threat of negative feedback meant anything to me. i sent my comments to ebay regarding this but never heard anything back.. must have been more and more buyers feeling the same “threat”..interesting… i agree w/the first poster, michael, re:power sellers..

  17. Most sellers are honest, but the bad ones always use their feedback to punish you for objecting to their bogus behaviors. Ebay knows what’s going on, but can’t do anything about it. This is long over due.Once your payment is rec’d. and the item sent, there is no excuse for the feedback to be delayed.

  18. This is a stupid move on Ebay’s part! The feedback system is supposed to be a balance between the buyers and ssellers and based on the transaction, not the people involved. I always request that the buyer post their feedback first before leaving mine. I have been burned several times by some smartass who states “You’ve done what you were suppose dto do, why should I praise you?” or I’ll leave feedback when I get around to it sometime. BTW, I used to leave positive feedback as soon as payment was received. If Ebay really wanted to help buyers and sellers, they would clear out the blatantly crappy and fraudlent sellers. Handicapping one half of the buyer/seller community only pits the users against each other instead of fixing the real problem.

  19. P.S. I realize that I SHOULD have left negative feedback for this seller – but, having heard about sellers who leave retaliatory feedback, I was afraid to do this and left the neutral thinking that if he did retaliate, it would be with a matching – in other words, neutral – feedback. Boy, was I mistaken because he left me negative feedback which trashed MY – up to that point in time – perfect rating. That’s what an honest buyer gets for wanting to caution other honest buyers against buyer from BAD sellers like this guy – who, buy the way sells ALOT of George Foreman grills, coffee perculators, and those type items. His eBay name begins with hol… To other eBay buyers out there, I sincerely advise you to use caution because not all sellers are honest. I think the majority of them are – but this guy sure isn’t.

  20. It is about time eBay did this! I am an HONEST buyer who always pays within a few hours of placing the winning bid. I once purchased an indoor/outdoor George Foreman grill advertised as “like new conditionâ€? from a seller. When it arrived, I was horrified to see that the seller shipped it to me in the manufacturer’s original and very mangled and poorly taped up box. The contents were NOT padded at all – not so much as a single Styrofoam peanut – and were loose and clanging against each other inside the box. I immediately emailed the seller and told him the item arrived dented and badly scratched with actual pieces broken off. He wrote me back a day later, basically telling me “tough s**tâ€?. So I left him a neutral expressing my disappointment in both the item AND his unwillingness to make it right. He immediately retaliated by leaving me negative feedback and outright LIED, saying I “paid slowâ€?. When I reported him to eBay, they said that even though they KNEW he lied and that his feedback was retaliatory, there was “nothing they could doâ€?. That was just plain WRONG. And so I feel that this is a GOOD change for eBay!

  21. This is a bad move for eBay. As a seller with 100% perfect feedback–1258 of them–this comes as a shock. The feedback system is (well, was) reciprocal and with good reason. Truly, if eBay wants to know why buyers are being scared off, perhaps they should look at the number of power sellers who flood the listings with cheap opening bids, but charge 7 to 10 US dollars for Media Rate shipping. This scares buyers more than the possibility of negative feedback. Duh!

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