I started buying, restoring and reselling vintage dolls here on eBay in February of 2003. That's almost 8 years ago this coming February. My rating has been at 100% most of that time, dipping once due to the first negative (which I did not fairly earn since it was left in retaliation for an honestly earned negative I left for a dishonest seller), and really tanked this last time due to only ONE negative left in the whole of this last year by one customer who claimed I sold her a fake purse (I'll address this claim later).
How can a 100% rating of almost 8 years go from 100% to about 97.9% (that's where it was as of last night when I checked it last...but it's been in pretty much of a continuing free-fall so I never know quite where it's going to be every time I check in on it to see where its current position is) in less than 12 months when I haven't been doing much buying or selling and haven't received any other negatives?
That would be known as the current eBay feedback policy. It's how they calculate the feedback rating. Honestly, I think it may be a little biased in order to favor buyers, and not sellers. I've always been "pro-eBay," but this last policy change has really caused me some personal anguish.
I take my eBay feedback rating as a buyer/seller very personally. It reflects who I am to the rest of the eBay community in one quick glance. With this one brief view of your feedback rating, fellow eBayers make the lightning quick decision of whether or not they can trust you with their hard-earned dollars and want to become involved in a business transaction with someone they've never met. Would you send money to someone you've never met who has a feedback rating of less than 98%? It sure would make me stop and think pretty hard before I did that, and I've been doing eBay for a really long time, both as a buyer and seller.
And, on a more personal note, I do take pride in being able to show my fellow doll buyers and sellers that I'm an honest, fellow doll seller/artist who tries to do a good job and create something beautiful that fellow collectors can put their confidence in and buy from me. Considering the fact that my dolls usually sell for around $150, plus or minus, that's quite a bit of money for someone to send to someone they don't know. The only thing they have to go on and put their trust in is my feedback rating and the comments that have been left by eBayers who have made purchases with me before.
If my feedback rating is at 100%, all of my comments are great (or at least pretty good), then the purchaser feels confident in making this kind of a purchase from me. If my rating is at 97.9%, would you make a purchase from me? Would I make a purchase from me? (Ummmmm....maybe, maybe not....it depends upon how badly I want that particular doll.)
Upon receiving the one negative this year which tanked my rating, I quickly called eBay. I spoke with a very nice customer service representative who had to repeatedly tell me that there was nothing they could do to reverse the negative left by the customer which had completely killed my 100% rating of the last seven plus years unless I wanted to beg the customer to retract it (my words, not theirs). (She had to keep telling me because I was having a hard time believing that there was absolutely NOTHING I could do to change what had just happened). Outside of kissing this customer's (probably) highly manicured toenails, my feedback rating was going to remain where it was and continue to slide downhill with no additional help from me or anyone else.
I could have tried to get super-busy and sell my tail-feathers off in order to off-set the downward spiral: number of positive transactions/positive comments received = offsetting the one negative already left.
But, for someone who suffers with migraines, asthma, allergies, major depression, and is now pregnant at the same time, I'm stuck. I'm doing my "best" just to survive from day to day and take care of my home, husband and child, as well as get through morning sickness, horrible migraines and all the other stuff I have to struggle with every day physically, mentally, and emotionally on a normal basis.
So, selling on eBay became an impossible goal that I couldn't even reach, even on my best day physically (and I haven't had any very good ones, but it's slowly getting a little better each day), let alone trying to slow down or minimize any damage caused by that one comment left by someone who didn't even have the simple courtesy of trying to contact me and let me know they felt they had a serious problem and were unhappy with the purchase they made from me.
Would people PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read the seller's policies on their listings BEFORE they make their purchases? I don't know how many complaints I've read from other sellers, as well as special notations they've made an extra effort to put in BOLD, COLORFUL letters at the TOP of their listings for buyers who blissfully sail in, bid on the item, aren't happy with it, then turn around and leave a negative for the seller, and all of this could have been avoided IF THEY BUYER HAD READ THE SELLER'S LISTING POLICIES.
Why is it our fault (we, the sellers) if the buyers make a mistake and make a hasty purchase and haven't read the ENTIRE listing, then turn around and have what's humourously know as "buyer's remorse," and we, the sellers, have to take the blame and the financial hit because of it?
As a seller, it is my responsibility to honestly, accurately and completely describe the item I am selling to the public here on eBay. If I make a mistake due to my own human frailties, it is up to me to make it right for the buyer. And I have.
There have been only two occasions that I can remember where I have needed to do so, and I gave the buyer a full refund of the purchase price, as well as paying any of the shipping costs they paid to receive it from me in the first place, as well as paying for them to ship the item back to me (including shipping insurance and delivery confirmation). So, I try to do the right thing by the customer in all cases, even if it costs me, and the customer didn't contact me within the time frame that I gave them to initially return the item (one of the items was actually a few weeks later, but the customer was out of town and it sat at the post office, but I can understand that, no problem).
However, it is not my fault if the customer does NOT even make the attempt to contact me and let me know there is a problem. How am I supposed to do anything for them if they don't contact me? What's more, it's just plain RUDE and a really, really, really ROTTEN thing to leave a negative for someone when you completely ignore their clearly spelled out selling policies and don't even attempt to contact them. How fair is that? I will make absolutely no bones about the fact that I have utter contempt for people who treat others unfairly, and I think that this is a prime example. It really makes my blood boil. Whatever happened to the concept of COMMON COURTESY?
People seem to think that just because they don't see you face to face, if they purchase an item from you, and they aren't happy, they can treat you any way they want. I'm here to tell you: NO, YOU CAN'T. (If you are bored and have some extra time on your hands you can read how I screwed up and have been repenting ever since over allowing my anger and frustration to get the better of me in my other guide on Ebay Email Etiquette).
Just because I have the eBay label of "seller" does not entitle you to treat me badly or unfairly. I'm one of your fellow human beings, and I, too, deserve (and need) to be treated with common courtesy and fairness. If you don't have the capacity to carry this out, then don't buy from me. I don't need your money, AND I don't want your money. Period. End of statement.
But, eBay needs OUR money, we, the sellers. The buyers pay US, not eBay. WE, the sellers, are the ones that have to shell out copious amounts for the privilege of selling here on eBay. We pay them, and they write policies like this that favor the buyer. Why? They don't get their revenue from the buyer. They get it from US. So, if that's the case, then why don't they write policies that are at least fair for both the buyer and the seller? Why favor one over the other?
I would think it would be very good business sense to treat all parties equally and fairly. When this occurs, everyone is happy, buyers buy, sellers sell, and eBay makes lots of money. Let the free market system take care of itself, and it will.