Monday, August 27, 2007

I Knew It Was Bad, But Not This Bad!

Are you ready for an eye opening experience? I've been ranting about eBay's recent T&S crackdown and their decision to include neutral feedback in the calculation but I was basing my position on my experience with Glacier Bay where many neutrals were not negative at all. After going to I have a completely different perspective.

The Toolhaus 90Neg tool allows sellers to see if they are in danger of falling into the 1% of sellers that eBay is restricting. Here is the FAQ for the 90Neg tool.

Quote from a Pink on eBay's Seller Central Discussion Board:

eBay requires sellers to maintain minimum standards in buyer satisfaction. Our goal is to ensure that the marketplace is a safe and reputable place for the community to buy and sell. We have found that 1% of eBay sellers are responsible for 35% of bad buyer experiences on eBay. This not only impacts buyers, but is harmful to other sellers and the eBay marketplace as a whole.

Sellers receiving this notification have been identified as part of this bottom 1% of sellers as measured by Feedback and Item Not Received complaints over the past 90 days. If more than 5% of a seller/s buyers are dissatisfied, as measured by negative and neutral Feedback left or Item Not Received complaints during a 90 day period, the seller is in violation of the Seller Non-Performance policy.

If you pick a seller ID and search using the tool, it will display all of the negs and neutrals for that seller over a 90 day period and provide % of bad buyer experiences, 5% being the guideline set by eBay T&S. (Be aware that it takes awhile to calculate the totals and show the comments)

My suggestion is to pick a seller with a low feedback rating, maybe 97% and then compare them to a seller with 100% feedback. The majority of the neutrals are negative in nature even though you will find the occasional "Perfect transaction with a neutral rating" The vast majority of neutrals are negative in nature.

The problem with this tool is it only presents the negative comments, so buyers using this to pre-screen sellers would look at this data and never buy on eBay again. The perspective is skewed. Use this tool with caution.

It is also important to note that by reading some of the comments left by buyers you will get a feel for what sellers have to go through on a daily basis to make some people happy. Just check the responses left for a seller with a rating of greater than 99%

Please remember that the vast majority of eBay transactions are completed satisfactorily even from the poorly rated sellers. Heck a shortstop in the Major Leagues can win the Gold Glove for excellence with a 98.7% fielding percentage. Even eBay stated they were please with users response to eBay Express that was stated as 9 out of 10 Express visitors liked the site. That rating would get a seller kicked off of eBay.

There is a buyer satisfaction problem on eBay but the recent crack down will do nothing to solve the problem. It is also evident that eBay needs to discard the neutral rating completely and allow buyers to rate the transaction with a Positive or a Negative becasue that is all eBay is measuring for.


Anonymous said...

Check out this seller:

Real gem of a seller who sells cameras and three paragraphs into the description says "for parts or repair".

Definitely none of those buyers posting neutrals feel is was a good experience. Look at their feedback numbers while you're at it.

The guy with 87 feedback? He might give eBay another chance. The people with 11? 6? 2? Yeah not too likely.

Also you really can't compare ebay seller satisfaction rates to those of anywhere else because sellers can neg the buyers.

Imagine if you're in a restaurant and you get somewhat poor service and you fill out a survey card indicating so. What if the restaurant was able to ding your credit report in response? Chances are the restaurant wouldn't get nearly as many negative surveys and would have an inflated satisfaction rate, and that's what eBay sellers have now. On my buying account I leave negs when warranted and I risk getting future bids canceled from sellers because of it. Nowhere else do I get punished because of a bad transaction with a seller.

98% positive feedback on eBay just means that of the people that left feedback, 2% were actually willing to neg the seller and risk a neg in return. Also some percent probably left neutrals indicating a bad experience and were hoping to not get a neg in return (but probably did anyway)

I do agree that neutrals should be scrapped. Stars have replaced them for judging the excellence of a seller, and neutrals on a buyer are meaningless.

Sue Bailey said...

Sellers using the Toolhaus tool to see if they're in eBay's crosshairs on this policy, need to remember that it doesn't include PayPal issues. If you've had a couple of item not receiveds for things lost in the post, as we all do from time to time, that's going to go against you just as much as neutral f/b with a positive comment.

Re. the neutrals... I've just been through all mine I've ever received on any account. There isn't ONE that I would call negative *about me*. Most are "didn't like the colour when I got it" and "size wasn't what I expected" - well, if a buyer can't use a tape measure, I don't consider that a negative comment on my business, and I'd be pretty disgusted if eBay did so. I'd so like to think that there's a human review of accounts before they're suspended, but every bit of anecdotal evidence I'm hearing says there isn't.

Suzanne Wells - The eBay Coach said...

Hey, Randy. Re: your comment, "It is also important to note that by reading some of the comments left by buyers you will get a feel for what sellers have to go through on a daily basis to make some people happy."

AMEN to that. Even when I offer a refund, plus ALL shipping fees, some people would rather slap a neg or neutral on the seller rather than take 20 seconds to send an email and state their issue. The power of the mouse is just too tempting for some buyers.

I feel like buyers are getting too much power here in their rating capabilities - esp with the 5 star system. When are sellers going to get a 5 star system for rating buyers? I'd love to see some criteria for sellers to rate buyers - such as how quickly buyers paid (1-5 days, 6-10 days, 11-14 days, NEVER). Or a scale to rate customers on how difficult they are to deal with - now that would be fun! Sellers already lose just about every PP dispute, so when will we regain some power in this arena?

Thanks for this info, and for letting me vent.


Sue Bailey said...

Re. the stars for buyers: it was suggested and received quite favourably by the panel at one eBay Town Hall that buyers could, for example, get "gold dollar signs" for paying up quickly. Kind of a cute idea, I thought. Then there was this suggestion, which I borrowed from a post on an eBay board somewhere:

Buyers will be rated on the following attributes:

Watching Time – Did the Buyer watch this item too long before finally bidding on the damn thing?

ASQ – Did the Buyer ask intelligent or stupid questions?

Bids – Did the Buyer bid only the minimum amount over the high bid, or did they really “bid it up”?

Communication – Did the Buyer require repeated invoices before acknowledging that they sent payment, would send payment, or are never going to send payment?

Payment – Was payment made timely and without a lame excuse like, “PayPal screwed up my account”?

Notes - Did the “Note” section of PayPal contain any absurd comment such as “Send me the tracking number” when the S&H cost was $1 and your auction specified shipping by Media Mail?

Feedback – Did the Buyer give you a “pos” and then 1 star for all the attributes?

I'm still not sure if he was joking or not!

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