How To Avoid Or Remove Negative Or Neutral Feedback

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How To Avoid Or Remove Negative Or Neutral Feedback


So you've worked you backside off building your eBay business up, you've given top customer service, you keep your buyers informed up to their eyeballs with frequent communication updates and then out of no-where with no warning at all, you receive negative or neutral feedback.  You're concerned because you know how important your feedback rating is.  What do you do now?

This guide is aimed at helping sellers shed some light on the feedback system and how to avoid negative feedback and potentially have it removed.  At this point in time our feedback rating is very, very high  so you can see that we practice what we preach.

Some of the topics we will cover:
 

How Does The Feedback System Work?

Help! I Got Negative Feedback!

How Do I Remove Negative Feedback?

How To Avoid Negative Feedback

eBay Seller Protection Update - September 2013

 

How Does The Feedback System Work?

-All buyers can leave positive, neutral or negative feedback the instant a product has been purchased from a seller.  The product does not even need to be shipped!  That's right - it's open to serious abuse.
-Sellers on the other hand can only leave positive feedback (or none at all).

Buyers Leaving Neutral or Negative Feedback For A seller.

According to eBay "Feedback comments become a permanent part of a seller's record. If you are a buyer, contact your seller to try to resolve any issues before leaving neutral or negative Feedback. Please make sure that your comments are fair, based in fact, and relate to the specific transaction for which you received the Feedback request."

According to eBay policy, buyers must:
 - Wait seven days before leaving negative or neutral feedback for active PowerSellers who have been registered for at least 12 months
 - Complete a checklist of steps taken to resolve an issue before leaving negative or neutral feedback
Note: New members are required to take a tutorial on feedback before leaving any negative comments about other members.

Now, from our experience, newbie buyers often bypass the tutorial stage and often just go straight to leaving negative feedback, without even contacting the seller.  We offer some advice on how to deal with situations such as these below.
 

Help! I Got Negative Feedback!

If you get negative feedback, don't leave a response to it straight away.   Take a few deep breaths and don't respond with emotion.

This especially goes for the nastiest, lowest of the low feedback that pays out you, your reputation and your mother.

Although it may be tempting, really what you need to do is go into damage control.  I know this is pretty common sense stuff, but in the heat of the moment if you let your emotions take over then you might end up doing something you regret. First, attempt to have it removed by contacting the buyer and resolving the issue and sending a feedback revision.  This can often be the result of misunderstanding or misinterpretation.  A rational, non-emotional response is always conducive to reaching an amicable outcome.  Get to the crux of the issue and really understand what it is  your customer is unhappy with.  Don't take it personally, but understand that your customer is generally aggrieved for some reason and it's your job to sort it out.  And for you to never let it happen again.  Provide your side of the story and your intentions.  You'd be surprised how quickly things can be resolved over an email or two.
 

How Do I Remove Negative Feedback?

You really only have three options when it comes to having negative feedback removed.

1.  It breaks eBay policy.  Get in touch with eBay customer support.

According to eBay, feedback can be removed if:

- The Feedback contains inappropriate comments, or violates one of our Feedback policies.
- At the time the item ended or the Feedback was left, either member participating in the transaction was unable to form a legally binding contract.
- Either member provided eBay with an email address that is invalid, and that member could not be contacted at the time of the transaction. See our false or missing contact information policy.
- A buyer mistakenly leaves negative or neutral Feedback for the wrong seller, informs eBay of the error, and has left the same Feedback for the intended seller.
- A member is suspended by eBay for behavior that we've determined is malicious enough to warrant removing all the negative and neutral Feedback they've left for sellers. Note: If a member is suspended within 90 days of registration, all Feedback left by that member is removed.
- eBay is provided with a valid court order requesting Feedback removal.
- A buyer fails to respond to a reminder about an unpaid item and the unpaid item is recorded on their account.
- A buyer's communication within the Resolution Center undermines the purpose of the unpaid item process and the eBay Feedback system. For example, if a buyer responds to an unpaid item reminder with nonsense text simply to retain the ability to leave Feedback for a seller.
- eBay determines at a later date that the seller met the requirements for an automatic 5-star detailed seller rating for the shipping and handling charges category. In these  instances, we may adjust the rating to 5 stars.

- A buyer leaves a seller negative or neutral Feedback that refers to customs delays or customs fees (see below).


2. Feedback Revision
Feedback revision lets the buyer change the feedback rating, comment or detailed seller ratings they left for a seller, but only if the seller first sends a request to the buyer asking them to revise the feedback.  

How feedback revision works

Sellers:
-Can send a request to a buyer to change feedback within 30 days of the feedback being left
-Can send up to five requests per 1000 feedback earned per year
- May only send one request to a buyer per transaction
- Are only able to ask a buyer to change a neutral or negative feedback
Note: only send requests when you are confident the buyer will change the feedback since you only get five requests per 1000 feedback earned.

Initiate a  feedback revision request .

If you've spoken with the customer and after deliberating you've come to an agreement, then this is usually the best option for you.  eBay customer support will default to asking you to follow the feedback revision system if you get negative feedback.  They appear to follow the policy to the letter, and don't  take into consideration evidence and other issues that can build your case for feedback removal.  If you could imagine the number of requests they get like this each day, if each case were to be investigated, they'd never finish!  Unfortunately this "I have a hammer so everything looks like a nail" approach isn't always appropriate.  So what else can you do?

3. Get in touch with your eBay manager by phone.  As a PowerSeller you can speak with eBay over the phone to discuss negative feedback, especially if it is malicious ie. Industrial espionage by competitors.  Sometimes you will find speaking with eBay customer support a fruitless exercise, akin to hitting your head against a brick wall, as they are often just working within the 'policies' and read them to the letter.  There are certain criteria that they use to make their decisions.  If it falls outside of this then they won't do a thing.  Unfortunately there are unscrupulous sellers out there who will abuse the system for personal gain.  Do not lose hope, get in touch with eBay on the phone. If you're not then you have the option of contacting them through another seller who you know well and is reputable.  Yes, it can be done and it has been done.  Just make sure that the information that you provide to them is as detailed as possible, lay it out on a plate for them to review.  Treat it like a legal case and provide as much evidence to support your case as you possibly can.  Leveraging an existing relationship can also prove helpful.

What If I Can't Remove The Negative Feedback?
You have the option of leaving a response to the negative feedback.  It's human nature, we love hearing about bad news more than good news.  Just check out your local newspaper or the news on TV tonight!  Your responses to negative feedback are more than likely going to be read by heaps of buyers.  It's just common sense not to play into the game of the person leaving the feedback.  Some good examples:

Replacement shipment on it's way, sorry we weren't given a chance to respond.
Item shipped next day, courier delayed delivery. Sorry for inconvenience.
Happy to resolve any issues, please contact us next time
 

How To Avoid Negative Feedback

Prevention is better than the cure, right?  In the case of negative feedback, I can't stress this enough.  Spend the time to get this right.  It will save you hours or pain in the future.

Accurate Listings
Nobody wants to purchase something online, wait for it to be shipped only to find that the description doesn't match the item, or the photo's misrepresent the product.  For example, the words "synthetic leather iPhone case" can mean many things to many people as there are varying degrees of what constitutes "synthetic leather" .  If someone leaves negative feedback without contacting you first, especially in circumstances such as this, you can more often than not reason with the customer.  Explain your point of view and your intentions, but also take into consideration their point of view and try to reach an amicable solution.  Explain you have no reason to deceive people. This may mean a refund or some other offer.  Be creative.

Communication
Ensure you communicate frequently with your customers to keep them updated once they're purchased items.  This means you should tailor your winning buyer, purchase reminder, payment
received and posted templates. Send your customers the tracking ID so they know where their product is at any time.  If your item is going to be shipped late, let them know!  Be honest, people are often quite forgiving if they understand the circumstances.  If people are kept in the dark with no information, then they can only assume the worst!

Inform Customers
Remind customers of the importance and effects of negative (and neutral) feedback.  Negative feedback will affect your search ranking results (see Detailed Seller Ratings or DSRs).  Consider reminding your customers to contact you if they have any issues (in your listings, emails and shipment).

Give great customer service
Regardless of any feedback system, if you want to run a successful eBay business you must give great customer service.  This is just common sense.  Put yourself in their shoes, get to know them and what they need the products for and provide as much assistance as you can.  Everyone recognises good service.  And the word on bad service spreads much faster.  It's just the way humans operate, don't fight it, accept it and move on!  Think of the long term benefits a great customer rating will return versus the short term gain of 'being right'.

Protecting Yourself
If you do receive negative feedback, then as a seller you can block other members with:

-Unpaid Item records
-Buyers that have a primary shipping address in countries that you don't ship to
-Buyers with policy violation reports
-Buyers with negative Feedback scores
-Buyers who may bid on several of your items and not pay for them/Non-paying Bidders

Here is what eBay support have to say about this:

We on eBay set different policies for our members to follow depending on a members violation we sanction members who are proven guilty to have violated our policy. Where a buyer has not paid for the item that they have purchased and that buyer gets too many strikes over a short period of time, their account will be suspended indefinitely. In some cases, limits may be placed on the buyer's account before they are suspended.  Even if the member with a suspended account will open another account on eBay our system will still be able to track it and will block that certain user from using eBay.

Update from eBay - September 2013
Your feedback is your reputation on eBay and we know how important it is. 
That’s why we’ll automatically award you 5-star Detailed Seller Ratings for:
  • Postage and handling charges
  • If you offer free postage, the buyer chose that option and left you feedback 
  • Communication
  • If you specify 1 business day (or less) handling time; upload tracking information within 1 business day; there are no communications initiated in eBay Messages; no requests made for contact information between you and the buyer; and no pending PayPal Protection cases.
We’ll automatically remove negative and neutral feedback and low detailed seller ratings when:
  • It’s from a non-paying buyer
  • A buyer shows a pattern of leaving low feedback
  • It’s something that’s out of your control such as weather-related delays, postal strikes or natural disasters
  • It’s from a buyer who’s been suspended.

For more info on seller protection, check it here

That about wraps it up.  We've covered a lot of ground.  If you think we've missed something useful, shoot us an email and we'll look to update it.  I hope this guide has been helpful and informative.  If you think so please vote 'Yes' below as your vote will help others!
 

Your feedback is your reputation on eBay and we know how important it is. 

That’s why we’ll automatically award you 5-star Detailed Seller Ratings for:

  • Postage and handling charges
    • If you offer free postage, the buyer chose that option and left you feedback 
  • Communication
    • If you specify 1 business day (or less) handling time; upload tracking information within 1 business day; there are no communications initiated in eBay Messages; no requests made for contact information between you and the buyer; and no pending PayPal Protection cases.

We’ll automatically remove negative and neutral feedback and low detailed seller ratings when:

  • It’s from a non-paying buyer
  • A buyer shows a pattern of leaving low feedback
  • It’s something that’s out of your control such as weather-related delays, postal strikes or natural disasters
  • It’s from a buyer who’s been suspended.
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