Whether you’re simply selling goods from your home or a fully fledged eBay reseller, sometimes the inevitable happens… You get a negative or neutral feedback from one of your buyers.
I say it’s inevitable because it really, really is…
You could have a perfect store, perfect products. However, human error or unrealistic buyer expectations are going to trip you up. Today, I want to talk about how we handle a negative or neutral feedback on eBay.
Noticing The Feedback
There’s no big alert that goes off on your account when you get feedback from a buyer that isn’t positive. Which is why it’s very important that you check your seller dashboard daily.
There are lots of places you can spot your eBay feedback score. Either on your selling page.
Or on your newly formed seller hub.
The most annoying thing without a doubt here is when you find that the buyer has never emailed you or contacted you in any way to the problem they are having. Instead, they just leave the feedback…
Encourage Buyers To Contact You First
However, as sellers, there’s not much we can do about that. We can encourage the buyers to contact us with issues using marketing materials etc. but the time it takes to set up such automation and the cost of sending out flyers and other marketing materials doesn’t (at least in our case) work out as a good investment compared to the actual number of negative or neutral feedback we get on eBay.
Read The Feedback Comments
However, even flyers won’t always prevent a buyer leaving you a negative or neutral feedback on eBay. So, the first action we take when dealing with this is to view the feedback comments.
This feedback is a perfect example. The buyer explains that although we sold the set as complete it’s arrived to them with a wheel missing and we’ve been unable to resolve the issue.
Message The Buyer In Question
I’d like to say we were lucky in the sense that the buyer contacted us about this issue prior to leaving us a feedback. However, here’s the message they sent on the 8th December at 17:42
Here’s our response on the 8th December at 17:46 (yes, just four minutes later…)
Before we get further into this, there are two things that we’ve highlighted here that you should always do when contacting an eBay buyer who is unsatisfied.
Firstly, respond promptly. Perhaps not four minutes promptly, but within 24 hours is reasonable.
Second, apologise. Make if the first thing you do. As the saying goes, the customer is always right… And in your case, whether they are or not simply doesn’t matter. You should always apologise.
Offer A Solution(s)
The following actions are really going to depend on the item in question and the buyer’s comments. You’ll often find that no two issues are the same. In the case of our Lego missing wheel here’s what we offered;
From our experience we have found it’s always better offering more than one form of resolution for your buyer. In this case, we offered to get them the wheel or send them some money to cover the cost/inconvenience.
Give it three days and if you’ve not heard from the buyer then politely follow up. Ask them if they received your message, in some cases even copy the previous message into the conversation to reduce the amount of “back and forth”.
Ask For The Feedback Removing
There are two ways you can go about this;
Ask The Buyer To Retract Their Feedback
If the problem has been resolved to the buyer’s satisfaction then you might consider asking for a feedback revision. The feedback revision process can be initiated by the seller and takes just a couple of moments for the buyer to complete.
At the very least you could go from a negative to a neutral (this doesn’t affect your percentage rating). Maybe the comments will reflect how quickly and efficiently you’ve managed to find an adequate solution for your buyer.
Ask eBay To Retract The Feedback
In some cases, you may find that either;
The buyer doesn’t respond/is being uncooperative.
You find the feedback to be unrepresentative to the actual situation. There are so many different things that could happen in this case. It’s pretty much impossible to highlight them all. However, eBay has given some guidelines as to the feedback they’ll look into removing.
If this happens then you can contact eBay to ask them to look into removing the feedback. We’ve done this a number of times with a mixed amount of success. However, in most cases, it’s worth a shot and you lose nothing by trying.
We always use the eBay ‘live chat’ service. Despite there sometimes being long wait times and it being difficult to navigate to the find the live chat option. More often than not the situation will be highlighted and passed off to someone. You’ll then be emailed with the outcome around 48 hours later.
eBay Feedback Extorsion
This didn’t really fit into any of the above, however, I feel it’s of great benefit to eBay sellers and is, therefore, something I wanted to cover.
It can often seem like eBay and PayPal favour that of the buyer. If you’ve been a seller on eBay for a long time or done a number of transactions you probably know what I mean.
Unfortunately, a select number of buyers on eBay in the past have been “threatening” to leave negative feedback for perfectly good sellers should they not receive a full or partial refund for a product purchased.
This became more and more common, and more and more frustrating for sellers who seemed to have no choice than to either take on the feedback or sell at a loss. This was until around 2010 when eBay introduced something into their policy that states.
“Buyers are not allowed to demand, by threatening to leave negative Feedback, neutral Feedback or low DSR (detailed seller ratings) any of the following;
Goods or services that were not included in the original item’s description or purchase price.
A return, refund or replacement item not covered by the original listing or the eBay Money Back Guarantee”
In short, this means that feedback extortion is no more. An should a buyer message about feedback extortion in any manner without premise and go on to leave negative or neutral feedback then it would be on the grounds for removal.
This is certainly something worth bearing in mind when you have a buyer “demanding the earth” with CAPITAL LETTERS ALL THE TIME… – Again, those of you who have been selling on eBay for a long time no doubt know what I mean. For very little / no reason whatsoever. Of course, that’s not a reason to be difficult or provide bad customer service for adequate claims. Which, unfortunately, due to the nature of these negative, overreacting and false claims have become harder and harder to distinguish between.
A negative eBay feedback isn’t the end of the world. Far from it!
However, I’d always encourage you to look at ways to get those removed that you can. Because unfortunately, you’ll find some that are impossible to remove for one reason or another. It kind of ends up balancing out – at least that’s what I like to think…
Of course, if you are receiving a number of neutral/negative feedbacks (more than 1 in every 100, give or take…) then you might want to look at your practices, what you can improve on etc. Afterall, that’s a much better and quicker solution for both parties than having to try and get each and every feedback removed by offering refunds, partial refunds and wasting your time sending out eBay messages or waiting for an online chat agent to become available.
Finally, if nothing else remember, after twelve months both neutral and negative feedback is removed from view – so nobody ever knew it happened.
Do you have any hints and tips on how to cope with neutral or negative feedback on eBay? Leave us a comment below and will look to update this article and include your ideas!