How to Leave Appropriate Feedback on eBay - dummies

By Marsha Collier

Almost any eBay seller will tell you that one of his or her pet peeves about the eBay feedback system is that new community members tend to leave neutral or (even worse) negative feedback the moment a shipment arrives and something is wrong.

The DSR part of the feedback system asks you to rate sellers by filling in one to five stars. Why be judgmental? If the transaction went through as promised, why not give the seller five stars? A five-star rating doesn’t cost you anything as the buyer, and if the seller is a Top Rated Seller, it can affect a discount they receive on their eBay fees.

Late Delivery

A late delivery is not always the seller’s fault. Before dinging a seller’s reputation for slow delivery, check the postmark on the package’s label. You’ll often find that the seller followed through with his or her shipping promise, but the package was held up in transit. If the seller shipped right away, why not give that person five stars for a good-faith effort?

Missing or damaged shipment

When a package leaves the seller’s hands, it is literally out of his or her hands. If UPS, Federal Express Ground, or Federal Express Air ships your package, the tracking number can track the item. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Be sure you know when the seller plans to ship the merchandise, so there’s less question about when it will probably arrive. In the top of each listing (under the shipping costs), you will see a delivery time estimate based on the seller’s shipping policies. A Top Rated Plus Seller sends items out within 24 hours.

  • Open your packages immediately upon receipt. A seller can’t make a claim on an item that you report damaged in shipping a month after it arrives, so leaving negative feedback for the seller at that point is unfair. Most shippers insist that any and all damage be reported within five days of receipt. Also, if damage has occurred, keep all packing materials for inspection by the carrier.

  • A seller can’t do much about a missing package. Sellers can’t even make a claim on a postal shipment until 30 days have passed since mailing. If, however, the tracking information says the package was delivered to your door (and it went missing from there), you have no recourse.

  • If the item never arrives, only the sender can file a claim with the shipping company and must produce all shipping receipts. Notify the seller immediately by e-mail or telephone upon receiving a damaged shipment.

Item doesn’t meet your expectations

If the item arrives and isn’t as described in the item description, e-mail the seller. Communication is a good thing — and most sellers want to preserve their reputations. Give the seller the opportunity to work things out with you. Keep in mind these facts:

  • If a new item in a manufacturer’s sealed box arrives damaged, the damage could have happened at the manufacturer and the seller wouldn’t even know about it.

  • A seller may not be as experienced in a particular collectible as you are. If you didn’t ask all the necessary questions before bidding, you may have received what the seller assumed was a collectible. It’s up to the buyer to ask questions before placing a bid.

  • If you receive the wrong item, the seller might have simply mixed up labels. Don’t jump to leave negative feedback. Just notify the seller, who will no doubt work out the mistake with you.

Most important, sellers should be given the chance to prove they care and make good. Most items are always covered by eBay Buyer Protection.

Choose your words carefully

Good sellers should be rewarded, and potential buyers should be informed. That’s why no eBay transaction is complete until the buyer fills out the feedback form. Before leaving any feedback, remember that sometimes no one’s at fault when transactions get fouled up. Here are some handy hints on what kind of feedback to leave for a seller:

  • Give the seller the benefit of the doubt. Selling on eBay is a source of income, and most sellers are honest, hardworking people. If the transaction could have been a nightmare, but the seller tried to make it right and meet you halfway, that’s an easy call — leave positive feedback.

  • Whenever possible, reward someone who seems honest or tried to correct a bad situation. For example, if the seller worked at a snail’s pace but you eventually got your item and you’re thrilled with it, you may want to leave positive feedback with a caveat. Something like “Item as described, good seller, but very slow to deliver” sends the right feedback message.

  • If the seller worked at a snail’s pace but packaged the item adequately and the item was kinda-sorta what you expected, you may want to leave neutral feedback. That is, the experience wasn’t bad enough for negative feedback but didn’t deserve praise. Here’s an example: “Really slow to deliver, didn’t say item condition was good not excellent, but did deliver.”

  • If the seller doesn’t ship your item or the item doesn’t match the description and the seller won’t make things right, then you need to leave negative feedback. But never write negative feedback in the heat of the moment — and never make it personal. Life’s interesting enough without taking on extra hassles.

Remember that you cannot retract feedback. You are responsible for your words, which will remain on the eBay site forever (with your user ID next to them for all to see). Be sure to leave a simple, factual, and unemotional statement. Important things to mention in your feedback are

  • How satisfied you are with your purchase

  • The quality of the packaging

  • The promptness of shipping

  • The seller’s professionalism

  • The level of communication