How to Check Out an eBay Seller’s Reputation

By Marsha Collier

You’ve finally found an item you’d like to buy on eBay. Don’t place that bid just yet! Taking a look at the seller’s feedback will supply you with a good deal of information about the reputation of your potential trading partner.

Although the eBay Money Back Guarantee covers your transaction in almost any way, it will not cover you if the seller takes a long time to ship. By looking at the seller’s feedback, you can tell whether you’ll get the birthday gift you bought for your sister in time for the celebration.

Always look for the words Top Rated Seller or the Top Rated Plus seal when you are buying an expensive or time-sensitive item. eBay bestows this appellation on only the best sellers.

Top Rated seller eBay
The Top Rated Plus seal shows the sellers with the best customer service.

When you consider buying a more expensive item, be sure to click the seller’s feedback number when you visit the item page. Clicking the number will show you the member profile: the Feedback Summary and the DSR ratings. After you click the feedback number, you should examine some important details if you want to be a savvy, security-minded shopper.

sampel member profile eBay
A sample member profile.

On the left side of the page you see Recent Feedback Ratings; on the right, the Detailed Seller Ratings. You also see the counts of feedback comments divided by time periods: 1 month, 6 months, and 12 months. Note the following significant entries:

  • Positive Feedback comments: You may notice that the actual number of positive comments is higher than the positive figure. This is because every eBay community member can comment only once a week on another member and have it count in the feedback rating. (The net rating was previously based on comments from unique users.) All feedback entries count as long as they’re left in different weeks.
  • Neutral comments: Neutral comments are usually left when a party wasn’t thrilled with the transaction but nothing happened that was bad enough to leave a dreaded, reputation-ruining negative comment.
  • Negative comments: The number of negative comments may also vary, just as the positives do, for the same reason.

This feedback page is where all those little stars you place when you leave feedback show up. You’ll be able to see how many ratings have been left for each category and where the Average Rating lies.