Sunday, September 10, 2006

Would YOU leave negative feedback on eBay?

Would you leave negative feedback on eBay?

I'm not sure that I would.

Picture this scenario. I make a bid on eBay. The bidding ends at 11:11 at night, and the next morning, I learn I won. Needing to rush out the door to go to my day job, I plan to pay in the afternoon, knowing it is expected that I have at least five days to pay. When I come home in the afternoon, I pay using PayPal.

Now all I have to do is wait for my merchandise.

And I wait. And wait.

Thirty-six days later I get my product. When I open it, my first thought is, Did I order this? Then I remember I did, but I have received about a half dozen other things I had won from eBay since then.

And if that were not bad enough, the item is broken. There's no real reason it should be broken; if it had been properly packaged, it should have been fine. But this looks like it was thrown together at the last minute and sent out the door. No considerate marketer would have sent out an item packed so shoddily.

So I contact the seller for resolution. No response. I follow up with another request. Still no response.

Now I am not normally the type who would say, Well, this guy's a jerk and I am going to slam him with negative feedback. In fact, as a relatively new eBay member, I have been pretty pleased with the service I have received so far. I have only given positive feedback to this point - an accurate reflection of the service I have seen.

But this crosses the line. To have to wait a long time for a package that arrives obviously carelessly packaged, and to have multiple requests for resolution ignored, is more than the average eBay purchaser should have to endure.

So for the first time ever, I leave negative feedback on eBay. Here's my statement:

Negative: Pkg came after 36 days and was damaged. 2 requests for service went unanswered.

Mine was the fifth negative left out of 100 responses for this guy, or in other words, he has a 95% positive feedback rating. Most of his negatives have been in the last 60 days.

His response to my response? Guy didn't pay right away.

Though true that I didn't pay a moment after winning at 11:11 at night, I paid within 24 hours. I thought that a lame response to my issue.

But here's where it gets interesting. Prior to this incident, I had 19 feedback comments on eBay. I sign into eBay one morning and see I have a new feedback comment. Sure enough, it's from my old friend with the broken product/no service thing, and it's negative.

Negative: dont buy from this guy he takes forever to pay you

Great. So now my 20th feedback comment is negative - undeservedly, in my opinion, and my feedback rating is the same as his: 95%. I've got the same feedback rating from one disgruntled seller as he does from five disgruntled buyers. I choose to take the high road on my response.

Response: I apologize if you feel my service was lacking.

I guess the lesson to take away from this is, Don't leave negative feedback until you've sold enough to be able to absorb some negativity thrown your way, too, whether or not you have it coming.

Or don't leave negative feedback until the other person leaves yours first. (Yeah, like a poor salesperson is going to rush in and praise you.)

Or just don't leave negative feedback at all. Considering feedback is a two way street, is it truly worth it to criticize someone when they hold an equal card against you?

UPDATE: eBay has now eliminated the abilities of sellers' to leave negative feedback for buyers. Perhaps that was in response to buyers' stories such as this one?