eBay Feedback : How to Grow It and Keep Positive Feedback for Your Business

Avril Harper

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Positive feedback is vital for growing a business and good reputation on eBay, especially when building feedback to sell BUY IT NOW or open a shop on eBay. Bad feedback can be avoided, even removed, read on to learn how.

eBay Feedback is the process where buyers and sellers rate one another based on actual trading experience. If the transaction is good you can expect positive feedback from buyers and sellers. Neutral feedback indicates room for improvement; negative feedback denotes an unacceptably flawed transaction –


I say ‘usually’ because things don’t always go according to plan. Feedback is subjective – some people are more easily pleased than others, some more forgiving while some are more honest. I have seen positive feedback left by people who haven’t even received their product yet, and negative from others who just enjoy being cruel or haven’t even paid the seller. Jealousy, bad hair days, downright nastiness, all contribute to negative feedback which few sellers can avoid.

Positive feedback is vital for growing a business and good reputation on eBay, especially when building feedback to sell BUY IT NOW or open a shop on eBay. Feedback – positive and negative (neutral doesn’t count for % rating) is represented as a proportion of overall feedback. So the lower your feedback rating, the higher the impact negative feedback has, unlike PowerSellers with, say, 10,000 feedbacks, for whom one more negative has little or no effect.

Once feedback is given, even in the heat of the moment, it can’t be changed, so a negative stays with you for life. That’s more or less what eBay says, but the reality is different. Feedback can be retracted by mutual consent (learn more via ‘Feedback’ in your eBay account) and via firms like SquareTrade – www.squaretrade.com – who mediate between members to remove negatives.

It's vitally important to understand why people leave negative feedback and take steps to avoid these most common reasons:

* Delay in sending product. ‘Delay’ for some people is more than a day between paying and receiving their product, for most three or four days is acceptable. Seven days is too long. If there is a delay, be upfront about it, write to buyers, apologize and give an explanation and revised delivery date.

* Sending product badly wrapped. Pack products carefully, using bubble wrap or padded bags. It can be expensive but you are allowed to add packing charges to postal costs.

* Not sending product at all. More than three negatives for this will get you suspended or barred from eBay. Not sending a product is inexcusable and you should only list items you already have or can easily obtain.

* Item not as described. Describe items as carefully and comprehensively as possible and always include a message like: ‘Item described to the best of our ability. Money back on all items with inadvertent listing mistakes or errors. ’

* Not answering emails. Often the problem isn’t yours, the other person may have spam filters preventing your email getting through, often they just don’t check before leaving negative feedback. An estimated one-third of emails miss their intended destination, mainly due to spam filters.

But most PayPal letters make it through spam filters and they’re rarely missed by people who’ve binned many of your earlier communications. Virtually everyone opens emails saying ‘There’s money in your PayPal account’. Poor communications can be solved by sending a small amount of money via PayPal with a message ‘You have spam filters in place, contact me asap’. Or similar. Be careful, remember the recipient of money usually pays PayPal a transaction fee. Not so where you partially refund someone paying you through PayPal. Do this by entering the appropriate transaction within your PayPal account, scroll down to ‘refund’, pay a small amount back. The recipient won’t pay but he will get your message. Don’t refund by PayPal for buyers paying you by cheque or cash. They will be charged. The exception is where you send a token amount, plus PayPal charge, to the recipient.

* Charging high postage and trying to make more money that way. You can charge extra for packing and processing but be realistic. Don’t charge $10 for a package costing $3 to post and $2 for packing materials. It's unprofessional and will earn negative feedback and complaints to eBay.

* In retaliation for leaving negative feedback for other eBayers. This is the most common reason for negative feedback and something you must learn to live with. If you're honest and leave negative feedback to warn other buyers and sellers against a member you consider dishonest or untrustworthy you will get negatives. You must decide if warning others is worth the red mark!

* Just Because! You will never please them all and it isn’t worth your time trying.

Getting Good, Avoiding Bad and Managing Problem Feedback

* Retaliatory negative feedback is the most worrying aspect of all for serious business eBayers who, though they know it’s their duty to warn other sellers about undesirable customers, are often too afraid of incurring negatives in return. I only give feedback when it’s already been left for me. In my listings and compliments slip I say: ‘If you have a problem email us at myemailaddress and we’ll sort it out right away. Otherwise, leave feedback to let us know your product has arrived in good order and we will reciprocate within 24 hours. ’

* ‘Reciprocate’ is the important word, and if someone leaves positive feedback we normally leave the same; if they leave neutral or negative we contact them to ask why. If we consider reciprocal neutral or negative feedback is warranted, that’s what they get. To my mind it is totally, totally wrong to leave neutral or negative feedback for anyone without first trying to resolve the problem. In this case our negative or neutral feedback isn’t retaliatory, it’s simply to warn other sellers about the buyer’s lack of care and communications skills.

* You can pre-approve bidders, allowing you to sell purely to individuals who have no negative feedback themselves and don’t leave it unnecessarily for others. You might get people to email you before bidding, you check them out, you approve or bar them from bidding. Personally, I can’t see the point.

* You can cancel bids or forbid certain people from bidding. Visit eBay’s Feedback Forum for lots of advice and comments from seasoned sellers.

* A friendly, considerate disposition, and the ability to handle difficult people, all help avoid the ‘Big N*’ which can seriously damage your business. (*Negative feedback!!!). Now let us get real, bear in mind the bigger you get, the more items you sell, the more negatives you might genuinely earn, and the more difficult people you will encounter. Be careful, considerate, communicate.

Learn from earned negative feedback, try to avoid undeserved complaints, and learn to live with whatever else happens.

Avril Harper is a triple eBay PowerSeller and editor of eBay Confidential and webmaster of http://www.publishingcircles.com . She has produced a free guide - 103 POWERSELLER TIPS - which you can download with other free to distribute reports and ebooks at http://www.toppco.com


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