When Feedback is Demanded What’s the Point?
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Now, we all know the importance of feedback. Giving feedback is what allows businesses to even better serve their customers. And we’re all familiar with feedback forms on all sorts of sites, the quintessential example being the feedback form for eBay feedback. There are all types of feedback – positive feedback, negative feedback, and even constructive feedback which may be neither. But demanded feedback? Giving and receiving feedback should be a voluntary act. Demanding that I leave feedback for a transaction with you may lead to destructive feedback, or maybe I should learn how to give scholarly constructive feedback that feels positive when it isn’t!

I mean, why provide feedback at all if it’s going to be so strained? Why do you feel entitled to – indeed – how dare you demand feedback from me?


[Check out how eBay is forcing sellers to leave buyers only positive eBay feedback – no more eBay negative feedback for buyers with the new eBay seller feedback rule!]

So what brought about this tirade? You might think that it was the recent spate of eBay sellers from whom I had recently made some purchases, and who started pestering me within a day for the positive feedback they felt I owed them. Oh, some were more polite than others – starting out with “I left you positive feedback, I hope you’ll do the same when you get your item.” Ok, that’s fair. But guess what – they all turned to harpies when I hadn’t trotted right on over to eBay within 24 hours – on their schedule – to ply them with the appropriate flattery.

Now, as it happens, I was in the middle of both the soft launch of the beta of a new product, and coordinating a relief effort to feed a country full of freezing, starving people half-way around the world (yes, really). So, dropping everything to run over to eBay and plop my feedback in the eBay feedback form wasn’t really highest on my list of priorities. I knew I’d get to it. Just not Right Then.

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One got so obnoxious (3 emails within 24 hours, each more demanding than the previous) that I finally responded and said “Ok, I’ll go leave that feedback right now, sure thing”, and I gave her an A for product, and guess what – an ‘F’ for hounding me – right there in the feedback. She was, of course, pissed.

But still, that isn’t what finally put me over the edge.

What put me over the edge was getting another request for feedback this morning… from an Amazon seller.

 

Is there any place I can purchase things online and not get the online shopping equivalent of “but you said you’d call me”?

What the heck – I don’t want a relationship with these people – whatever happened to wham bam, ship it, ma’am?

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that something has gone horribly wrong with the feedback system when one feels obligated to leave feedback – or, on the other side, one feels entitled to feedback.

If the system has made feedback the currency of the online buying relationship, then I say the system is broken. They already have my money – I shouldn’t have to pay them twice.

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8 thoughts on “When Feedback is Demanded What’s the Point?
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  1. I’ve been both a buyer and seller on eBay, and it does seem the feedback system is imperfect. But it does serve a purpose, too. Feedback is a way to determine the reputation of both buyer and seller. It seems to me that the actual comments left by both buyers and sellers are much more revealing than any score. Some sellers with questionable practices manage to have high scores, and some highly reputatable sellers have low scores for various reasons. But it takes time to go through and read all the feedback comments so most don’t do it.

    I do think it is very unfair to allow only sellers to leave negative feedback. I’ve noticed a lowering of most seller’s feedback scores since this new ruling went into effect.

  2. i don’t buy/sell on e-bay, but i bought one of my duty pistols on “auction arms” and got no hassle about leaving feedback, but then i’ve found mostly gentlemen, and ladies, in the legal firearms trade, i can’t speak for the illegal underground market, i don’t go there. i’ve also had a good experience with a casio watch repair shop on the west coast, and called them by phone to tell them how pleased i was with their service, but “begging” for feedback would turn me off cold.
    “gunner”

  3. I’m a buyer and seller on ebay too. I leave a positive feedback for a buyer when I know all is well and they are happy with my item. I do NOT leave it as soon as they pay as the whole buying experience is not complete until the item is received.

    As a buyer, I leave positive FB for the item once I receive it.

    And as an incentive, a seller will earn a discount if their Feedback range is really, really high. And the way the FB questions are asked, a buyer thinks it’s just fine to leave them a star somewhere in the middle.

    Ebay is greedy.

  4. I have been both a buyer and seller on eBay for several years and I personally think the whole “feedback” fiqasco is ridiculous. Many times when I bought items I would receive an email informing me that positive feeedback would be left “after” I posted positive feedback for the seller. This is crap… when I make payment for an item I win on eBay I have carried out all that should be expected for positive feedback to be posted. Further I have sold many items to a person at the same time (one example was 73 items) and then I am required to leave the same number of positive feedbacks (even though only one counts toward a buyer or seller’s feedback rating). eBay’s feedback system is a runaway train with no engineer.

  5. I was annoyed after I left negative feedback and the seller tried to bribe me with a financial insentative to give a positive feedback. I did not change my feedback.

  6. I think you’re taking this a bit far, personally. Like it or not, in an online world, feedback is very much like currency because it’s one of the only ways a seller can differentiate from the competition. Prices from individual sellers on sites like Amazon and eBay are so similar on most items that a seller’s feedback rating becomes the default comparison point. Does it really bother you that much to let a seller’s prospective customers know that you were satisfied with your transaction? It’s as simple as typing one sentence and clicking “submit” — and I’m sure you don’t hesitate to log on and submit negative feedback when you’re dissatisfied, so why not reciprocate when a seller boosts your feedback rating?

    And don’t you depend on users like me (your customers) clicking on your “Email this link to a friend” requests? That is de facto positive feedback, and if you don’t like leaving it, you shouldn’t be asking for it.

  7. As an Ebay buyer and seller I’ve never yet come accross the problem you describe.

    Having said that, I only ever leave positive feedback as a buyer. If I have a bad experience I simply don’t leave feedback.

    when selling, I only ever leave a positive feedback AFTER receiving it. Otherwise I just don’t worry about it.

    They only have a limited time to leave negative feedback, but I do ensure that I never give anyone cause to even THINK about leaving negative comments.

    Chill out, and realise that ‘eBay’ is just a ‘tool’, not a way of life.

    Good luck,

    Pete.

  8. Feedback is similar to leaving a tip. By definition a tip is gratuity, and I am in no way required (unless it is stated) to pay gratuity.

    I usually leave a tip in a restaurant, but not if the service was bad. I once was berated by a waiter for not leaving enough. I fixed that by taking back what I had left, and giving him nothing.

    The first time a seller demands that I leave a gratuitous feedback, I will also leave an ‘F’ and not use that seller again.

    The very concept of demanding gratuity pisses me off.

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