Buyer vs. Seller – We are all losers

If I could pick one defining moment of change in the mindset of the eBay user from the spirit of buyer/seller cooperation, I would pick the day eBay introduced their Power Seller Program.

Up until that point, it seemed that there was a spirit of cooperation between the buyer and seller – forgiveness for small trivialities was common and the first line of defense was using “contact information” not negative feedback.

With the introduction of the Power Seller program, the first crack seemed to appear in the spirit of cooperation and it became small seller vs. large seller and once that war began, it seemed to perpetuate into a culture of distrust for each other. I cannot tell you how many posts I read that stated “I’ll never buy from a power seller”, thus began the rift. Over the years, it went from seller vs. seller to buyer vs. seller and seller vs. buyer in a never ending quest to end up on top. I cannot go to any eBay forum without reading about how awful buyers are, or how awful sellers are. And all of this has put us where we are today, in many ways forcing eBay to act the referee and having to make decisions that do not please anyone.

Recently, I purchased from a fairly new sellers, and my some of my items arrived in pieces..wrapped in newspaper (a no-no for pottery) and I went back to my roots. I didn’t neg the seller, I didn’t give them abysmal DSR ratings, I just send a photo and asked for a partial refund (some of pieces arrived with no damage). We worked it out and I didn’t think for a minute to ruin this seller’s reputation. Everything worked out okay (except I lost some pottery that I really, really wanted).

However, I did mention this on a few boards I visit and got a LOT of advice to leave negative feedback and bad DSRs, and it brought all of this to my mind again. There is such a collection of exemplary buyers and sellers on eBay which DOES comprise the majority of eBayers and for the life of me, I cannot figure out why eBay continues to foster the idea that there are so many “bad” sellers and buyers with their programs and policies.

I’ll do my part personally, as a buyer, I will continue to help a seller that makes a mistake and not try and harm their business, and as a seller, I will continue be a buyer pleaser. If its not right, I will make it questions..and that’s “old school” eBay. I wonder if I’ll be telling the next generation of eBayers..When I started on eBay, buyers and sellers actually liked each other and had “names”.

5 Responses to “Buyer vs. Seller – We are all losers”

  1. Debbie Says:

    Hey, C. I dig what you’re saying.

    I do believe in bad ratings for not good sellers. I don’t believe in bad ratings out of spite, extortion, or bitchiness. But if someone shipped poorly and so on, I remember when feedback was supposed to mean feedback… input from your buyers on what you do well or could improve.

    I hope the seller learned from your email, but if the next person buys and they do it again, I’m not sure you’ve helped anything by NOT leaving them some not-so-good ratings.

  2. TheBrewsNews Says:

    Feedback is meant to be left AT THE CONCLUSION of the transaction to rate how the transaction went — from beginning to end. If the seller made it “right” with the buyer, in this case by giving a partial refund, when why do they deserve unfavorable feedback? Debbie, I so disagree with what you are saying. If the buyer in this case was satisfied with the resolution then why is it necessary to leave negative feedback to “warn” the next customer?

    Think about it this way — if the next buyer and the buyer after that also have items arrive damaged and the seller has to give out even more partial refunds then the seller isn’t going to be in business very long. There is no need to leave negative feedback if the seller handles the transaction responsible, as was done in this case. The only reason I can see for leaving negative feedback, as Debbie suggests, is to further “punish” the seller for making the mistake in the first place; a mistake which the seller then corrected. It is EXACTLY that kind of thinking that has made eBay the hostile place that it is today.

    I can’t think of any seller who would INTENTIONALLY package poorly so that their item arrived damaged. To leave negative feedback for the seller who gave a refund for the damaged items seems counter-intuitive. That seller would then be even LESS likely to act responsibily next time; they would say to themselves “Wow, I gave the buyer a refund for the broken items and I STILL got a negative… what is the point in trying to do the right thing if I am still going to be “punished”?”

    A little empathy and a lot of common sense could go a long way in making the buyer-seller relationship so much better.

  3. Linda Says:

    You have nailed it. As a seller, the stress is unbelievable while waiting for the item to arrive and watching for the feedback. My percent of feedback received is 100% positive (due to such a large number sold) and 4.9 and 5.0 DSRs but I did receive 2 negs and they were unwarranted. The buyer not reading the description. It was a 99 cent sale. I would have gladly sent a refund and they could have kept the item. They wouldn’t even consider feedback removal either.

    I loved the early days when everything was handled between the buyer and seller. Who hasn’t received something that didn’t work or was the wrong color? (from a major retailer). You don’t bash them, you return it.

    As ebay continues the push to make the buyer happy they are getting more and more demanding and the ebay experience continues to deteriorate for everyone.

  4. permacrisis Says:

    I would rather have high risk with a huge selection and take my chances, than have a ghost town lacking in choice but it comes with ABS, airbags, and no sharp edges….

    Rare items come from some of the most ratty, out of the way places and their inhabitants. If a persons life isnt quite together and they take a week to ship an item… fine. Better that than ebay punishes them, they become discouraged, and their precious items go into the compactor.

    The best gravy is full of lumps and I WANT the lumps or at least the choice of whether or not to sift. There should be two buttons in search. Google has them… if I was presented with Safe Search and Unsafe Search I’d click Unsafe.


  5. Jerry Says:

    I think that EBAY has shot themselves in the head with the new rules and now their greed and stupidity is going to kill their business.

    I to, have been a happy seller for eight of the past 10 years. The EBAY that I once knew is dead and gone. Their corporate policies, search processes and rules clearly indicate that the once mighty EBAY (the last frontier) has forgotten what made them great. The trust, fairness, truth and cooperation we saw from the corporation down through the small time buyer is gone. It died in 2008 with the new DSR ratings and the altered Feedback system.

    EBAT has forgotten that their customers are the sellers and the buyers are the sellers customer. The eBay seller is the only paying customer that they have. Now with the new insane rules and the heavy hand of the EBAT Policy Enforcers they are quickly killing their good sellers.

    EBAT has forgotten they to need to respond to their customers, the sellers, the life’s blood to the eBay business with fair, friendly and courteous service. Right now EBAT has lost their way and is now wondering in the wilderness without a flashlight or a compass.

    One last comment. If eBay does not wake up soon and realize that the sellers need to make a profit to pay their fees. They will die, falling victim to corporate greed and bad customer service. When the sellers leave there will be nothing to buy or regulate. Their income will be ZERO! And it will be well deserved!