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Upcoming Changes to Feedback
Feedback changes - May 2008
eBay's Feedback system continues to evolve as the community and marketplace dynamics change.

The eBay Feedback system was originally designed to provide a simple, honest, accurate record of the buyer's and seller's online experience to ensure safe and satisfactory trade. It was driven by the belief that through a transparent reputation system, members could hold each other accountable. Over time, we found that the transparency of the Feedback system made some buyers reluctant to hold sellers accountable. For example, buyers fear retaliatory Feedback from sellers if they leave a negative

Therefore, we've made a number of changes to eBay's Feedback system to continue to improve accuracy and accountability. These changes should help to differentiate and reward sellers who provide a positive buying experience on eBay.

What is changing?

What changes are being made to the eBay Feedback system?

The main changes to the system being introduced in May:
  1. Beginning in February 2008, we enabled buyers and sellers to earn up to one Feedback per week from the same trading partner. In May we will provide credit for similar repeat transactions going back to when the system was introduced in 1996. This change will encourage repeat transactions and reward good service.
  2. In May, sellers will no longer be able to leave negative or neutral Feedback for buyers.
  3. Removal of negative and neutral Feedback left by members who are suspended or who fail to respond to the Unpaid Item (UPI) Process.
  4. Positive Feedback percentage will be based on the past 12 months of Feedback, rather than lifetime, since it is most indicative of the seller's recent performance.
  5. Restrictions on when Feedback can be left:
    • Buyers must wait seven days before leaving negative or neutral Feedback for active PowerSellers who have been registered for at least 12 months.
    • Members must leave Feedback within 60 days of the transaction closing (today members have up to 90 days).
  6. Removal of Mutual Feedback Withdrawal.

Why is eBay making these changes?

Repeat Feedback credit
Sellers who drive repeat business should be rewarded when they receive repeat Feedback.

No negative or neutral Feedback for buyers
The previous system prevented buyers from leaving honest Feedback since they feared retaliation from the sellers if they left a negative. This made it harder for buyers to distinguish between sellers while making bidding or buying decisions. In addition, when buyers received negative Feedback, they reduced their activity in the marketplace, which in-turn harmed sellers.

Removal of negative and neutral Feedback from suspended members
Members who are suspended for Unpaid Items or other policy violations should not be permitted to harm the reputation of members in good standing.

Preventing negative or neutral Feedback from being left within 7 days of a transaction for PowerSellers who have been registered at least 12 months
Buyers who buy from PowerSellers who have been on eBay for at least 12 months have fewer bad buying experiences. Limiting buyers from leaving Feedback for PowerSellers does not undermine marketplace safety, encourages communication, drives members to leave positive Feedback and will limit Feedback extortion.

Elimination of Mutual Feedback Withdrawal
There are a number of reasons for removing Mutual Feedback Withdrawal, including:
  1. Leaving the possibility of Feedback withdrawal leaves buyers open to possible harassment and/or unwanted contacts by sellers attempting to have the buyer change the Feedback.
  2. Since only buyers can leave negative Feedback, the Mutual Feedback Withdrawal process could be used as a tool for Extortion - buyer leaves negative first, then removes once satisfied.
  3. Numerous enhancements coming in May limit the need for Mutual Feedback Withdrawal:
    • Enhancing Buyer Requirements - this enables sellers to better control which buyers purchase from them.
      1. UPI buyer requirement will enable sellers to prevent buyers from bidding/buying who had a strike as much as 12 months ago (instead of the 30 days today)
      2. A new buyer requirement will enable sellers to restrict buyers who have policy violations against them
    • 7 day waiting period before a buyer can leave negative or neutral Feedback for PowerSellers who have been on site for at least 12 months.
    • Enhancements to the Leave Feedback flow, encouraging communication with the seller before negative or neutral Feedback is left.
    • Positive Feedback percentage will be based on past 12 months, which lessens the long-term impact of an unfair negative.
    • Removal of neutral or negative Feedback when a buyer becomes suspended - so suspended buyers won't be able to negatively impact a seller's record.
    • Repeat Feedback credit - even though the seller is not able to remove the negative via MFW, there is still an incentive to correct any issue the buyer had with them since repeat buyer Feedback now counts
  4. Like today, sellers can respond to any negative or neutral Feedback via the Reply to Feedback option. Buyers can also leave a follow-up to their original comment.
Reducing the time a member can leave Feedback from 90 days to 60 days
Today less than 5% of all Feedback left is between day 60 and day 90. There are some legitimate reasons to leave Feedback after 60 days, but with electronic payment methods like PayPal and more options for overseas shipment, transaction times have decreased since the Feedback system was created almost 12 years ago. Further, it is important that members leave Feedback early in order to let other members know whether their experience was positive or negative.

How will the new initiatives enhance the marketplace?

We believe that we will reduce any imbalance in the Feedback system with these changes. Buyers will be able to more accurately rate seller performance and sellers will be protected from buyers who violate our policies.

The changes will enable:
  1. Buyers to be more honest when they leave Feedback, since they will not fear retaliatory negative Feedback.
  2. Buyers to bid more and higher, since their trust in the Feedback system and the sellers will increase.
  3. Our best performing sellers to differentiate themselves from all other sellers and increase the amount of business they receive as buyers gravitate towards them.
  4. Sellers to leave Feedback upon payment more often in order to increase their chance of receiving positive Feedback.
The change is designed to benefit both buyers and sellers. Improving the Feedback system should increase the number of buyers whose expectations are met. This should result in more buying activity, which will in turn benefit sellers.

Ensuring seller protection and performance

Will sellers still have access to Buyer Requirements to manage their buyers?

Yes. In addition to the current Buyer Requirements, we are enhancing the Unpaid Item buyer requirement and adding new buyer requirements that will enable sellers to block buyers with multiple policy violations from bidding/ or buying their items.

The buyer requirements tool enables sellers to prevent or limit the buyers from bidding or buying their items if certain criteria have not been met. The criteria are:
  • Buyer does not have a PayPal account
  • Buyer has a recent Unpaid Item strike (new)
  • Buyer is registered in a country where seller doesn't ship to
  • Buyer has a recent eBay policy violations (new)
  • Buyer who may have bid on several of my items and not paid for them
  • Buyer who is not ID Verified (new – but not available on all eBay sites)

What criteria will eBay use to identify buyers who violate eBay Policy?

We will rely on the same criteria as today. Reports from sellers based on specific policy violations such as Unpaid Item, transaction interference, Feedback Abuse and Feedback Extortion.

What happens when a buyer uses negative Feedback as a threat to receive better service or additional goods/services from the seller?

If a buyer uses the threat of negative Feedback to demand more than what was promised in the item description (e.g. wants overnight delivery but only paid for standard delivery) the seller should immediately report the buyer to eBay.

If there is clear evidence of extortion eBay will take action typically on a first offense. If a buyer shows a pattern of malicious behavior, eBay will most likely suspend the buyer. If we suspend the buyer, any negative or neutral Feedback the buyer has left for sellers will be removed.

Sellers should only file these complaints when the buyer asks for more than what is promised in the listing. Filing a false claim may result in seller suspension.

Negative and neutral Feedback removal

Now that sellers can no longer leave negative Feedback for buyers, will all the negative and neutral Feedback they have left so far be removed?

Negative and neutral Feedback left for buyers prior to the change will remain unless the seller is suspended. Remember though that the positive Feedback percentage will only be based on Feedback earned in the past 12 months.

What happens to negative Feedback left by currently suspended members?

Negative or neutral Feedback left by currently suspended members will be removed beginning in May 2008.

Will the negative or neutral Feedback removed due to member's suspension be reinstated?

Feedback removal due to member's suspension is permanent and will not be reinstated for any reason, except if the member was suspended by mistake.

May I still use online dispute services like SquareTrade to have negative Feedback removed?

eBay will no longer accept Feedback removal requests from SquareTrade or NetNeutrals, even when both buyers and sellers agree to have the Feedback removed.

Will Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) be impacted if Feedback is removed based on member suspension?

Similar to what happens today, if eBay removes a Feedback rating for any reason, the corresponding Detailed Seller Ratings are also removed and will no longer impact the seller's ratings.

Recent Feedback (12 months Positive Percentage)

Why is eBay basing the Positive Feedback percentage on the past 12 months and not on lifetime Feedback?

A seller’s recent Feedback is more representative of the seller performance. Twelve months is long enough to show trends and patterns and will enable buyers to make more informed decisions. It is also is enough time to prevent a single bad transaction from having an overly negative impact.

Please note that members will still be able to view the complete history and all comments will be available.

How will eBay calculate the Positive Feedback percentage?

The Positive Feedback percentage will be calculated by dividing all positive Feedback earned in the past year by all positive, neutral and negative Feedback.

Will the change to the Feedback percentage, basing it on 12 months, also impact my Feedback score?

The Feedback score (count of all Feedback earned) will continue to be based on all Feedback earned by the member since registration, except those withdrawn, de-scored or removed.

Repeat Feedback credit

How will repeat Feedback be calculated?

With the change in Feedback, members will soon be able to affect each other's Feedback Score by one point each week. To make sure that repeat Feedback is calculated in the Feedback Score, the transaction the members are leaving Feedback for must have ended in a separate week. For Feedback, eBay defines a week as Monday through Sunday, Pacific Time.

Are the repeat Feedback calculations retroactive? Why not?

eBay will begin counting repeat transactions in mid-February 2008. In May, we will retroactively recalculate your Feedback score to include repeat activity prior to February 2008.

For more information, check out the Repeat Feedback credit page.

Feedback news
Feedback changes in 2008

Repeat Feedback credit

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