eBay sellers attack negative feedback ban

Entrepreneurs have criticized the move by online auction service eBay to prevent sellers from posting negative feedback about customers who buy items.

As part as what it described as "bold changes," the company announced last week that beginning in May, sellers will not be permitted to leave negative comments about buyers. Traditionally, both sellers and buyers have been encouraged to post feedback, be it good or bad.

But eBay claims a change is now required because buyers who have made an honest complaint about a product or service are often wrongly criticized by sellers and subsequently put off from visiting the Web site again. A spokesperson told our sister site BusinessZone: "These changes will give all our buyers even more confidence to buy using eBay, safe in the knowledge that they'll be protected in the very rare occasions when things go wrong."

Small business owners however have hit out at the action, criticizing it as potentially damaging to the thousands of entrepreneurs who use the site to generate all or a major part of their income.

Posting on our sister site, UK Business Forums, a member using the name 'MH1' claimed he plans on using alternative auction sites in the future. "It was the feedback system which was the whole USP of eBay; with the changes, it becomes worthless," he added. "A real shame but hopefully a strong competitor will take advantage of the situation."

David Geran, director of Internet Retailer, agreed. "So if someone wins your auction and either fails or refuses to pay, or is just downright unreasonable, i.e. breaks the item and demands a refund before returning, you can no longer give them the feedback they deserve," he said.

"Feedback is what gives eBay its credible community trading system based on trust. This is a ridiculous move and completely undermines the 'glue' that makes their auction service work."

According to comments posted on eBay user forums, sellers are planning a strike on February 18-25 to protest against the feedback changes and also the increases in fees charged for selling items.

Reprinted from our sister site, accountingweb.co.uk

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