Comments For Entry #33

eBay's woefully inadequate "feedback system"(Comments RSS)

Ebay is famous as an auction and general trading platform. No-one can deny its usefulness and extreme success. So it must be good, right?

Ebay is not without its flaws and critics. I have a criticism of its feedback system that seems so wholly apparent that it is to my mind negligent that they have not plugged the hole by now..

Ebay's "feedback system" is supposedly a real plus point for the web site, allegedly helping buyers and sellers alike by enbaling them to see the feedback ratings of other potential sellers or buyers before doing business with them. I disagree with the usefulness of the feedback system as it is implemented currently. I can't believe that I am the only member of Ebay who finds a gaping hole in the way that feedback is administered.

* the problem

Some buyers and sellers in my view abuse the feedback system by deferring giving the other party a feedback comment until they have received a comment first. Some who do this claim that they have lost out in the past because others have not bothered to leave them feedback and this policy increases the likelihood they will get a feedback score. Presumably this also affords them the luxury of responding with a negative feedback, whether or not justified, in return, if they don't like what they get.

Some eBay members - buyers and sellers alike - actually state that it is their policy not to leave feedback until they have received it first from the "other party". So what if that is my policy also and I happen to be the "other party"? - neither of us gets feedback? I believe this situation is not uncommon, yet it does no-one any good. In fact, I suggest that it is mildy insane.

Have you noticed that some Ebayers leave negative feedback in retaliation for receiving negative feedback themselves? While this is understandable human nature, it is not correct.

Suppose you have done a transaction with another Ebay member and you are not happy with the way it went? Suppose you went through all the courtesy of trying to straighten out whatever the issue was but could not get satisfaction? What should you do?

Well, this excellent, transparent feedback system has been put there for you to leave a comment and a rating (positive, neutral or negative) for the performance of the other party in that transaction. Aren't you somewhat obliged to leave an honest assesment if you write anything? Oh, but if you do that and it's not good news, might not the other member leave you a bad score out of spite? - even if you did everything right? And you don't want that, do you, because it messes with your own feedback rating, doesn't it?

So you could you leave a positive rating (neutral is no better than negative, really, is it? - we all know it's just as bad) and thereby essentially mislead other Ebay members, to preserve and possibly increase your own cherished positive rating.

What a choice! How transparent is that?

For instance, if you are the buyer and you pay straight after the auction's end using PayPal ("This seller's preferred method of payment is PayPal" etc), what more is there that you can do? Not much!You've executed you part of the transaction fully and completely. You're just waitng for the goods. You should get a positive rating for that shouldn't you? (I suppose in the event that you subsequently abuse the seller in some way, you should forfeit a good score, but is that common or likely?)

But it does not work that way. A situation of bartering and stand-offs emerges, rendering the feedback system less than reliable.

* a proposed solution

Hold publication of feedback by both parties until both have provided a feedback response for the transaction. When they both have left feedback, display the two comments. This way there can be no stand-off, no bartering for kind words, and the comments are more likely to be honest. And if either person does not like the feedback they have received, let them respond to it and add another comment if necessary, just as they can do with the present system.

How hard is that? Well, compared with the other complexities that have been added to the Ebay platform over the recent months, it can't be too hard.

"Well, James, why don't you suggest it to Ebay," do I hear you mutter? I have done. On two occasions. More than a year ago. I got the standard, non-commital, "We value your comments highly" type of reply and that was it.

So I am taking the liberty of doing the only other thing I can to further this micro cause - publishing it in my own blogspace. Watch out, Ebay, you intransigent bastards!


EXTRA! EXTRA! - 31 Oct 2006

Finally I have found that it is not just me:-

This is a blog's archive from 2004, so people were discussing this very same issue and suggesting the same and other solutions and improvements two years ago.

I feel at once delighted and disappointed. I am heartened to know that I'm not a lone bonkers voice in the wilderness; there are others like me and they're not loons for hire. I'm sad because eBay can't give a flying fuck about this; and I'll admit to being at the same time a little sore that my idea was not original in time; it was original in my mind though, when I conceived the idea a year or so ago.

So that meme has been kicking about for at least two years and what do we have to show for it?



Hats off to eBay's management, who probably are still far too busy, trying to dig themselves out of the pile of money they had made fiscal year 2003,

27/3/2018 7:24 AM

What liitraebng knowledge. Give me liberty or give me death.

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