Recently there have been some pretty major changes to the way in which feedback is left on eBay. The most significant of these changes are as follows
- Sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for buyers
- Once left, feedback cannot be removed
- The Feedback % only refers to the last 12 months of activitity and not lifetime.
eBay reckons that the changes will have the following effects:
- Buyers will be more honest when they leave Feedback since they will not fear retaliatory negative Feedback.
- Increased trust in the feedback system.
- Greater differentiation between sellers.
- Encourage sellers to leave feedback on payment
I think that the changes broadly achieve these aims. I have always viewed feedback as a bit of a blunt tool, given that in the past all active sellers had a feedback rating of 97% or more. Feedback was high because the fear of negative feedback in return lead to few buyers leaving negative feedback. In my view onces a buyer has paid, they have done their part of the bargain.
On the plus side the changes will make sellers work harder to keep a good feedback score, creating greater differentiation between sellers. On the negative side, in placing all the power in the hands of the buyer, it increases the overhead of selling through eBay. A small number of negative feedbacks will have an adverse affect on your score, but bending over backwards to please every customer is very time consuming. I fear that buyers will become very free and easy with their negative feedback, making it difficult even for responsible sellers to keep feedback % high.
The one thing which I really don’t like is that it is now not possible to withdraw feedback. This leaves no room for sellers to make amends to their service and request that the feedback is removed. Once negative feedback is left, there is no incentive for any interaction between the buyer and seller.