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Considering Negative Feedback When Buying on eBay

Considering Negative Feedback When Buying on eBay


EBay has changed the way it displayed negative feedback over the years.  In the past, you used to have to scroll down through a member's many transactions to get the details of a negative feedback transaction.  Currently, though, eBay displays the number of negative feedbacks a member received for a six-to-12-month period, and you can easily click on the number and read the comment or comments buyers have left.

I think negative feedback is instructive in what it is, so you can learn the type of questions you should be asking a seller.  For example, for a pair of pants in my size I'm considering buying, one negative comment for that seller complained that some pants "require tailoring" and that they hang below the pant leg.  This is the kind of information you can get if you ask the seller for measurements, and check them against yourself with a tape measure.

It's also helpful to see if a seller replies to negative feedback.  I think a response by a seller is very important, if just to show they are on top of their mail and pay attention to what their buyers say.  Sometimes the response will be the seller defending themselves, such as "measurements were given and I offer returns."

But one seller admitted that the transaction gone wrong was "my bad," as they had been on vacation.  That kind of honesty is a good thing to see in a seller too.

If you want to see a seller's feedback that goes back more than a year ago, consider going to Toolhaus.org and inputting the seller's ID in the "Negative/Neutral Feedback" area.  There are also sections on the site for "30-Day Negs," "Mutual" feedback, and "Blocked-Bidder Check," which lets you search your blocked bidder list for invalid/NARU ("not a registered user") users.

I think the bottom line is to be reasonable when checking a seller's negative feedback.  If they have some 1000 transactions, and only three negative feedbacks, that's not such a bad track record, especially if it's something like a sizing issue and the seller offers returns.

Do you make a point of checking a seller's negative feedbacks before buying?  What kind of negative feedback would keep you from buying something, given how many transactions a seller had?  Post a comment here!