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What Feedback Numbers Mean for eBay Users

You know how they say you are what you eat? At 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 your overall professionalism.

These comments are the basis for your eBay reputation. You wouldn’t be caught dead in a store that has a lousy reputation, so why on Earth would you want to do business on the Internet with someone who has a lousy reputation?

When you get your first feedback, the number that appears next to your user ID is your feedback rating, which follows you everywhere you go on eBay, even if you change your user ID or e-mail address. It sticks to you like glue.

Click the number next to any user ID and get a complete look at the user’s feedback profile. When you do, here are some points to recognize about the user's magic feedback number:

  • This number is a net figure of the positive and negative comments that were left for that eBay user. For example, if you get 50 positive comments and 49 negative comments, your feedback rating is 1.

    For every positive comment you receive, you get a plus 1. For every negative comment, you get a minus 1. Negative comments deduct from your total of positive comments, thereby lowering the number beside your user ID. Theoretically, if you play nice, your feedback rating grows as you spend more time using eBay.

    Anyone with a –4.3 rating has his or her eBay membership terminated. And don’t make automatic assumptions just because someone has a high feedback rating. You should always click the number after the name to double-check the person’s eBay feedback profile. Even if someone has a total of 1,000 feedback messages, 250 of them could be negative.

  • This number shows more than how good a customer or seller you are. As it grows, the feedback number also tells how experienced you are at doing business on the site.

  • This number ignores neutral comments. A neutral comment is neither negative nor positive; it doesn’t change the number that appears after your user ID. Neutral comments are used most often when buyers may not be completely happy with transactions, but not so unhappy that they choose to destroy someone’s reputation over the situation.

eBay riddle: When is more than 1 still 1? Gotcha, huh? The answer is, when you get more than one feedback message from the same person in the same week. Confused? This example should help: You can sell one person 100 different items, but even if the buyer gives you a glowing review 100 times, your feedback rating doesn’t increase by 100.

In this case, the other 99 feedback comments appear in your feedback profile, but your rating increases by only 1. Another thing: Say you sell to the same eBay user twice. The user can give you positive feedback in one case and negative feedback in another — neutralizing your feedback by netting you a 0 feedback rating from that person. eBay set up the system this way to keep things honest.

Members may affect your score by one point per week. If they leave you great feedback for multiple transactions spread from one week to another — you will get credit (hopefully) for two positives. To get credit for selling multiple items to one bidder, the bidder must leave feedback. For feedback purposes, eBay defines a week as Monday through Sunday, Pacific Time.

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