One of the things that I had presumed to trust in using eBay has been an honest evaluation of transactions by buyers and sellers. I realize that on either end of the transaction this may not always be the case. Using the feedback mechanism as a tool of retribution by both buyers and sellers has been a form of abuse over the years. But, in the past, a prudent purchaser through due diligence could frequently sort through the maze of charges and counter-charges and come to a frequently accurate conclusion of where the truth may lie.
Today, I encountered a situation that totally astonished and frustrated me. eBay blocked my multiple attempts to leave negative feedback.
On 9 September 2009, I purchased an item on eBay and, as usual I received an invoice for that purchase. Nine days later, around the time I was expecting delivery through media mail, I received a notice of “shipment”. That’s right. Nine days after purchase … with no explanation of delay …, my item was shipped. Five days later, yesterday, 23 September 2009, I received the item.
I don’t consider myself an unreasonable person. As a matter of fact, I encountered a similar problem about a week before. Another seller took about a week to ship an item. But, at least, this seller sent a message at the time of shipment stating that the shipment had been “returned” as undeliverable and was being reshipped. I accepted these excuses or reasons and chose not to leave a neutral or negative feedback even though shipping information didn’t support his contention.
I don’t know who thinks that taking nine days to process an order and arrange shipping is reasonable but I don’t. Period. That’s my standard and no amount of communication with a delinquent seller is going to resolve that sentiment.
But, eBay won’t allow you to leave a “negative” or even “neutral” evaluation of the seller.
I went to the feedback discussion boards and quickly found an entry related to this problem. Following the chain of comments I found some lame reason or excuse that a person had to “wait seven days” before leaving negative feedback. Well, seven days from when?
After taking the time to enter your feedback; 1) rating the seller as either positive, neutral or negative, 2) entering a comment and 3) going through the star ratings, you then click on the button” submit feedback”. If you’ve entered a neutral or negative rating, you’re taken to a page where you have to check on of three comments; 1) that you’ve communicated with the seller to try to resolve the “conflict”, 2) that you’ve allowed enough time for the item to arrive or 3) that your comment is factual and you’ve avoided personal remarks.
Well, “Choice #1″ was unnecessary and irrelevant as was “Choice #2″. I was unaware that the seller was taking nine days to ship until that in fact was the case and once the item was shipped it did arrive in a timely fashion. Choice #3 was the most appropriate. My comment, “The seller took nine days to ship.”, and evaluation was correct and factual. I understand that thinking it’s totally reasonable for sellers to ship promptly is an opinion but it’s my opinion and that’s what the feedback is supposed to be about.
For some reason after repeatedly clicking on the “Continue and leave feedback” button, nothing happened. After going back through the “revise feedback” process, still a dead button. The little highlighted red arrow point to the evaluation line “positive, neutral or negative” glares at you like you’re committing some cardinal sin that is totally unacceptable to eBay. It won’t even allow you to change from “negative” to “neutral” … again a cardinal sin.
I understand that eBay is trying to protect its sellers from harrassment by unreasonable buyers, but where’s the protection for the buyers? Making buyers jump through unnecessary hoops to protect sellers is simply poor policy.
One of the comments was that this policy was designed to protect “high volume” sellers. Well, if high volume sellers are having acute or chronic problems with a high volume of disgruntled buyers, what protection is there for daily buyers on that seller’s site when complaints about the seller are being blocked or delayed for weeks and months?
This is simply a poor implementation of a poor and one sided policy, designed to protect shoddy and unscrupulous sellers from legitimate complaints. It makes the ratings provided by eBay, at best, suspect and more realistically worthless.
Whoever is responsible for implementing this decision should carefully consider the ramifications of their one sided policy. 70% of the American economy is based on consumer purchases. EBay’s business is 100% based on consumer purchases. If eBay can’t figure this out, all of their business is based on “BUYERS” …
No buyers = no sellers!!!
Blocking negative feedback will eventually come back to haunt the powers that be at eBay. Eventually, enough buyers will encounter a bad seller and try to leave negative feedback and realize that the ratings they are depending on for honesty are totally worthless.
And, they will stop using eBay. Then it will be “Goodbye, eBay”. No buyers … and no sellers.