eBay Changing Feedback Process to Give Buyers a Chance to Leave Honest Feedback Without Fearing Retaliatory Remarks

Monday, May 19, 2008

YAHOO! The mega-auction site eBay announced in January of 2008 their plans to change the feedback system on their site, giving buyers and opportunity to leave honest feedback and limiting sellers ability to leave negative feedback for buyers who have paid promptly and with good will but were unhappy with the product order. The changes went into effect today… May 19, 2008… and here’s the historical story direct from eBay.

May 19, 2008 | 10:14AM PST/PT

The feedback changes outlined in Brian’s announcement below will go into effect today. You can learn more about these changes by visiting our information page and updated FAQ.

We will be updating everyone’s feedback scores over the next few days to reflect their repeat feedback. During this time, some sellers may see a temporary discrepancy between their scores shown on their item pages and on their Feedback Profile.

***Original: A Message from Brian Burke – Upcoming Feedback Changes***

May 07, 2008 | 09:03AM PST/PT

Brian Burke

Hello everyone…as we announced back in January, we’re making some bold changes to how Feedback on eBay works. As we get closer to our launch, I wanted to review the changes we’ve discussed and provide some additional detail and updates.As a recap, here’s what we announced in January that is scheduled to launch the week of May 19th in North America (which includes eBay.com in the US, as well as eBay.ca and eBay.cafr in Canada):


  • Sellers may only leave positive feedback for buyers
  • We will remove negative and neutral Feedback if a member becomes suspended
  • Members can leave Feedback up to 60 days after a transaction (down from 90)
  • We will remove Feedback when a buyer fails to respond to the unpaid item process.
  • Members will receive credit for weekly repeat Feedback (going back to 1996)
  • We will base the Positive Feedback Percentage on the past 12 months of activity (and include neutral Feedback in the calculation)
  • The PowerSeller Program will use the same calculation method described above to determine eligibility for the PS Program for the Positive Feedback percentage requirement of 98% positive.

Next I’d like to share some additional detail beyond what we discussed in the original post:


  • In January we mentioned that we’d block buyers from leaving negative or neutral Feedback for 3 days for sellers “with a track record.” Since January, we’ve made the decision to increase the wait period to 7 days and define “track record” as active PowerSellers who have been on eBay for at least 12 months.We studied the factors that increased risk to buyers the most and found there are three: a) a seller’s Positive Feedback percentage and DSRs, b) the volume of a seller’s Feedback – both in total and on an ongoing basis and c) length of time a seller has been on site.We selected PowerSellers who have been on eBay at least 12 months in order to minimize risk to buyers, because: 
      a. PowerSellers have to meet quality thresholds for both conventional Feedback and, starting in July, for Detailed Seller Ratings
      b. PowerSellers have to meet volume requirements – both in total and on an ongoing basis
      c. One year on-site proved to be an important predictor of lower risk

    All three factors prove important to predicting the risk to buyers – removing any one of them would increase risk to a level we are not currently comfortable with at this time.

    We will watch all aspects of the new Feedback system very carefully, studying how the marketplace responds and we will make changes as we see appropriate.


  • We mentioned that we’d be aligning the Mutual Feedback Withdrawal process with the new system. After much consideration, we’ve made the decision to remove the Mutual Feedback Withdrawal process. The reason is that – under the new rules – it opens sellers up to extortion. As part of this decision, Mutual Agreement from third-party Feedback mediation services, such as SquareTrade, will also no longer be accepted. 

Over the last several months, we’ve had many conversations with our customers – both buyers and sellers – and we’ve had the opportunity to consider ways we can address some of the top concerns we’ve heard. Based on the input we’ve received from you, I want to share some additional modifications we’re making: 

  • We are adding language in the leave Feedback flow for buyers who are in a cross-border transaction that reminds them that international transactions usually take longer to complete. 
  • We’ve improved the interstitial page that all buyers see before leaving negative or neutral Feedback; the updated page offers a stronger message to buyers about the need to communicate with the seller, to allow enough time for the transaction to complete, and to keep Feedback factual. 
  • And later this month… 
    • In addition to expanding the 3-day block to 7 days, we are introducing a new Buyer Requirement that will allow sellers to block buyers who have been reported by other sellers for eBay buying policy violations (such as Feedback abuse, or email threats). 
    • We’re expanding the scope of the existing Buyer Requirement for unpaid items, so that it supports more comprehensive blocking of buyers who have a history of non-payment. 
    • We’ve improved the process that sellers use to report buyers for policy violations. 
    • Detailed Seller Ratings will be coming to Half in the next couple months. Watch for more information on this via email and on the Half discussion forum in the next couple of weeks.

As you can see, these changes represent a huge investment in transforming the way Feedback works, so that it better serves today’s marketplace. Ultimately, the goal is to restore trust and transparency and improve the buying experience, while offering needed checks and balances that ensure our sellers who provide excellent service benefit.


Brian Burke
Director, Global Feedback Policy

Link to this announcement


One comment

  1. […] The rules have just changed at eBay. The list of changes is long, tedious, and can be found in this WordPress blog post. The upshot is, sellers can no longer leave negative or neutral feedback for buyers, giving the […]

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