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Leaving eBay Feedback with Finesse

Believe it or not, writing feedback well takes some practice. It isn't a matter of 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.

Although you're not required to leave feedback, keep in mind that it's the benchmark by which all eBay users are judged. So whether you're buying or selling you should always leave feedback comments. Think of leaving feedback as voting in an election: If you don't leave feedback, you can't complain about lousy service.

eBay says to make feedback "factual and emotionless." You won't go wrong if you comment on the details (either good or bad) of the transaction. If you have any questions about what eBay says about feedback, click the Services link at the top of every eBay page; then click Feedback Forum on the subnavigation bar that automatically appears (or go to the user agreement by clicking the link at the bottom of almost every eBay page).

In the Feedback Forum, you can perform six feedback-related tasks:

  • See feedback about an eBay user.
  • Leave feedback for many auctions at once. Here, you see all pending feedback for all transactions within the past 60 days. You are presented with a page of all your transactions for which you haven't left feedback. Fill them in, one at a time, and with one click, you can leave as many as 25 feedback comments at once.
  • Review and respond to existing feedback about you.
  • Review the feedback you have left for others.
  • Make your Feedback Profile public or private. Remember, if you make your Feedback Profile private, you may hinder your future business on eBay.
  • Check the Feedback FAQ to review any changes in the feedback system.

In the real world (at least in the modern American version of it), anybody can sue anybody else for slander or libel at any time; this fact holds true on the Internet, too. It's a good idea to be careful not to make any comments that could be libelous or slanderous. eBay is not responsible for your actions, so if you are sued because of negative feedback (or anything else you've written), you're on your own. The best way to keep yourself safe is to stick to the facts and don't get personal.

If you're angry, take a breather before you type out your complaints and click the Leave Comment button. If you're convinced that negative feedback is necessary, try a cooling-off period before you send comments. Wait an hour or a day; see whether you feel the same. Nasty feedback based on pure emotion can make you look vindictive (even if what you're saying is true).

Safety tips for giving feedback

And speaking of safety features you should know about feedback, you may want to study up on these:

  • Remember that feedback, whether good or bad, is (above all) sticky. eBay won't remove your feedback comment if you change your mind later. Be sure of your facts and consider carefully what you want to say.
  • Before you leave feedback, see what other people had to say about that person. See whether what you're thinking is in line with the comments others have left.
  • Your feedback comment can be left as long as the transaction remains on the eBay server. This is usually within 60 days of the end of the auction. After 60 days have passed, you must have the transaction number to leave feedback.
  • Your comment can only be a maximum of 80 letters long, which is really short when you have a lot to say. Before you start typing, organize your thoughts and use common abbreviations to save precious space.
  • Before posting negative feedback, try to resolve the problem by e-mail or telephone. You may discover that your reaction to the transaction is based on a misunderstanding that can be easily resolved.
  • eBay users generally want to make each other happy, so use negative feedback only as a last resort.

If you do leave a negative comment that you later regret, you can't remove it. You can't go back and leave an explanation or a more positive comment (unless you're responding to feedback this person has left about you), so think twice before you blast.

The ways to leave feedback

Several ways are available to leave feedback comments:

  • If you're on the user's Feedback Profile page, click the Leave Feedback link; The Leave Feedback page appears.
  • In the Items I've Won area of your My eBay page, click the Leave Feedback link next to the auction.
  • Go to your auction and click the Leave Feedback icon.
  • Click the Leave Feedback about an eBay User — See All Pending Comments at Once in the Feedback Forum to see a list of all of your completed auctions from the last 90 days for which you haven't yet left feedback.
  • Click the Services link in the main navigation bar and then click Feedback Forum. On the next page that appears, click the Go Directly to the Feedback Forum link.

To leave feedback:

1. Enter the required information.

Note that your item number is usually filled in, but if you're placing feedback from the user's Feedback Profile page, you have to have the number at hand.

2. Choose whether you want your feedback to be positive, negative, or neutral.

3. Click the Leave Feedback button.

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