EBay to turn on feedback system changes

Australia first in line for EBay's roll out this month of controversial changes to its feedback system

EBay will roll out a host of changes to its feedback mechanism this month globally, including the controversial elimination of sellers' ability to leave negative feedback for buyers.

EBay announced the feedback changes along with modifications to other areas like its fee structure in January, prompting many sellers to complain and even organize a strike.

However, eBay has stuck to its guns and proceeded to implement the changes, seeking opinions from buyers and sellers while refining and modifying some details.

For eBay, the overarching goal for the changes is to improve the buying experience within the marketplace and lead sellers to improve in areas like shipping, fulfillment and communication.

One key area eBay identified as in need of improvement was its feedback process, intended to let buyers and sellers rate their interactions with each other.

With this review system in place, users could rate and find out the quality of buyers and sellers, propping up those who played by the rules and warning against inept or malicious participants.

Unfortunately, according to eBay, the feedback system in recent years became an increasingly common retaliatory tool used mostly by sellers to punish and intimidate buyers.

This in turn yielded artificially inflated positive ratings for many sellers, while discouraging buyers from leaving candid and honest feedback and from making future purchases, according to eBay.

To remedy this, sellers now will only be able to leave a positive rating for buyers. Meanwhile buyers will retain their ability to rate sellers both in general -- positive, neutral or negative -- and in more detailed ways. In addition, eBay is doing away with its "mutual feedback withdrawal" option, which allowed a buyer and a seller to agree to simultaneously remove the ratings they had given each other.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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