Communication is the Key.
Nothing in life works well if a decent amount of communication is not involved.
Ebay is no different. As a seller or a buyer you both have a responsibility to communicate with each other during the entire process of purchasing/selling an item via these means.
The main thing to remember with ebay is that it is largely a case of 'Buyer Beware'. If you choose to make purchases over ebay, then it is your responsibility to take steps to protect yourself.
Fully read an item description so you are aware of what you are purchasing. If the item description doesn't fully explain something that you want to know, then contact the seller and ask them.
If the cost of postage is not listed, then it's your responsibility as a buyer to request a price be given before you purchase the item.
If you place a bid on an item or make a purchase without fully understanding what the item you are buying is, or what the postage cost is, then you have none to blame but yourself.
Most sellers are decent people who will be more than willing to answer any questions, and if they don't respond, then don't buy from them.
Communication is the key.
The purchasing process isn't complete until the transaction is complete and both parties leave feedback. Now the feedback system is in place to help protect people, just like you. Therefore, don't abuse it.
If you recieve an item which isn't exactly what you expected, and yet was clearly explained and you just didn't understand, then that isn't the seller's fault. Take responsibility for not taking steps to be fully aware of what you were purchasing.
Don't simply leave negative feedback when it truly isn't deserved.
That's a manipulation and abuse of a system which is there to protect YOU.
If an item arrives and it isn't as it should be, and the fault does indeed lay with the seller, then communication is still the key.
Don't just leave neutral or negative feedback. Contact the seller and see what their response is. In most cases they will be willing to assist you and remedy any concerns you may have. But if you go and leave feedback first, then in most cases the seller will not feel even remotely compelled to try and assist you.
When you go to leave negative or neutral feedback, you recieve warnings... twice!
Both messages encourage you to contact the person whom you are doing business with.
Both messages suggest you communicate BEFORE leaving the feedback.
Once again Communication is the key.
In all your dealings on ebay, if you remember this key message, then it will make all of your buying experiences that much easier and safer.
Ebay is set up in such a way that communication between buyers and sellers is made easy.
If a breakdown in communication occurs, then that's when you have problems.
Neutral and Negative feedbacks exist as a last resort. Don't skip ahead of the system. In the long run, you're really only harming yourself.
Remember.... Communication is the key!