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For Seniors: How to Realize the Importance of eBay Feedback

On eBay, you are only as good as your feedback says you are. Your feedback is made up of comments — good, bad, or neutral — that people leave about you (and you leave about others). In effect, people are commenting on the overall professionalism of the buyers and sellers they meet on eBay.

Feedback serves two purposes:

  • Good sellers can be rewarded with praise when they earn it.

  • Potential buyers can find out about sellers’ good (or not-so-good) practices.

That’s why no eBay transaction is complete until the buyer fills out the feedback form. Writing feedback well takes some practice. It isn’t a matter of just saying things; it’s a matter of saying only the appropriate things. Think carefully about what you want to say — because once you submit feedback, it stays with the person for the duration of his or her eBay career.

Before leaving any feedback, though, always remember that occasionally no one’s at fault when transactions get fouled up; communication meltdowns, shipping mix-ups, or misplaced packages can happen to anyone.

Starting with your first feedback comment, the number that appears next to your user ID is your feedback rating. Every time you get a positive comment from a user who hasn’t commented on you within the past week, you get a point that raises your total rating number. Every time you get a negative rating, this negative cancels out one of your positives, and your number goes down. Neutral comments rate a 0 — they have no impact either way.

Your feedback rating follows you everywhere you go at eBay, even if you change your user ID or e-mail address. It sticks to you like glue, and you’ll see it on your My eBay summary page every time you sign in.

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You can click the number next to any user ID and get a complete look at the user’s feedback profile — which compiles three types of feedback:

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  • Positive feedback: Reputation is what makes eBay function. If the transaction works well, you get positive feedback; whenever it’s warranted, you should give it right back.

  • Negative feedback: If there’s a glitch in your eBay transaction (for instance, it takes six months to get your Charlie’s Angels lunchbox, or the seller substitutes a rusty thermos for the one you bid on, or you never get the item), you have the right — some would say obligation — to leave negative feedback.

  • Neutral feedback: You can leave neutral feedback if you feel so-so about a specific transaction. It’s the middle-of-the-road comment. Say you bought an item that had a little more wear and tear on it than the seller indicated, but you still like it and want to keep it. Neutral feedback is okay in such a case.

Along with the feedback rating, you also see a star next to user’s IDs; that’s an eBay star. You’ll notice stars of many colors — even shooting stars! eBay’s Star Chart rewards eBay members with new, ever-more-impressive stars as their feedback ratings grow.

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Anyone with a –4 rating has his eBay membership terminated. Remember, just because an eBay member may have a 750 feedback rating, it doesn’t hurt to click the number after the user ID to double-check the person’s eBay feedback profile. Even if someone has a total of 1,000 feedback comments, 250 of them could be negative.

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