We need more complaints from banned buyers

It’s been interesting to read the comments from Tamebay readers regarding the recent eBay UK test to remove visibility of “Feedback left for others”. It’s obvious that, despite eBay’s improvements in recent years to seller protection, you still feel vulnerable.

We’re pleased to report that eBay have told us “This was a test run in the UK. It has now ended and feedback visibility is restored“.

A test it may have been, but the comments were illuminating. Possibly the most sanguine comment was from eBay veteran Tinker, feedback doesn’t do that much for anyone until it’s too late and you have a problem so Tinker has automated software which leaves feedback on receipt of payment calling it a “soulless box ticking automatic dribble”.

Bearing in mind that around 80% of eBay sales are fixed price immediate purchases, it’s not possible to check feedback and cancel bids in the way you once would have done on auctions. Also, unless you’re a hobby seller, who has the time to check every buyer’s feedback before shipping the item out? If you do have time to check each and every buyer out then you’re not selling enough.

So accepting feedback is useless until something goes wrong, that is when many sellers use it for investigative purposes and as David Brackin pointed out “eBay is about trust and this visibility is important”. If a buyer is being habitually troublesome their feedback should reflect this.

No buyer’s feedback really reflects how good or bad they are – these days eBay only allows sellers to leave positive feedback for buyers. It’s only by seeing the comments a buyer leaves for other sellers you start to build up a picture of what they’re like to trade with.

The people we really want to pick up on troublesome buyers are eBay themselves. We want eBay to protect us and we want eBay to kick troublesome buyers off the marketplace.

There have recently been a couple of stories in the press about Amazon banning buyers who’s behaviour falls outside of Amazon’s accepted norms. I’m sure neither Amazon nor eBay really like this sort of publicity. I do though and I suspect that most sellers would agree with me.

If eBay are protecting sellers and taking note when enough sellers report a buyer to ban them then sooner or later a buyer is going to be upset enough to complain to the newspapers. I’m looking forward to that day.