Dear eBay Queen: Is this feedback extortion?

Dear eBay Queen;

A while back you were in Keim Bakery and I talked to you at length about eBay’s issues and the problems I was having with eBay.   When I read this article from Time Magazine it had a pretty depressing article on eBay I was reminded of some of the things we talked about.

I have thought of some ways that maybe eBay could fix its self.

  • Do something with search!  The first thing eBay needs to do, is to get rid of Best Match.  It is the WORST.  When I search for something I don’t want to see what eBay thinks I want, I want to see what I searched for.
  • eBay’s traffic is DOWN. How can we bring it back up?  I think bringing back the small sellers will make traffic go up.  Just like this article from Time, it basically told eBay where their traffic went…. Away because they drove all the people that loved them away.
  • Stop trying to be Amazon.  Be eBay, and be good at that.
  • Detailed seller ratings are a joke.
  • Defect system, I could go on and on about defects.  I think part of the defect system is fair, because buyers deserve to have their items sent to them when promised, but to force a seller to take a return outside of their return policy OR to give a defect simply because there is a return is ridiculous. Returns happen in ecommerce.
  • eBay spent all their time and energy getting Vera Bradley, Sears, Kmart, Target, Eddie Bauer and every other retailer to come sell their wares on eBay, and they did it at the expense of all of the mom & pop sellers.
  • When John Donahoe shut down the community boards, the community left and so did the sellers/buyers that loved it.

eBay needs to hire some people that “get it”.  These people need to understand what eBay is and what it meant to its community, and its community will come back in droves.


Dear CH:

I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps you should send this along to some eBay Board Members and executives. I think it might be something they need to see.


Dear eBay Queen:

I’ve sold on eBay for around 2 years. I started selling clothing 5 months ago.  I’ve looked at my numbers, and I’m averaging 8 returns a month because the item doesn’t fit.  I list all the measurement in my listing, and when I can have a model wear the item in my photos, and say stuff like “model is a size 12” etc.  I realize that you never know if something is right for you until it is tried on, but seriously! I feel like this is a lot of returns.   I had a buyer contact me yesterday with a nasty message.  I’m not sure how to respond.

“So I received the pants, and they are seriously not fitting right.  Flat front pants never make me look as hippy as these do!  I just cannot wear them.  I would like to return them, but I see that I am going to have to pay for return shipping?  I’m not very happy about that, when I read on eBay it said that you were responsible for the return shipping. What are we going to do about this?   Also I did remove the tags, but will be including them in the package after you pay the return shipping.  Thanks for leaving me feedback on this transaction.  I hope that I can leave you as positive feedback as you left me.”

How should I handle this?


Dear Dottie:

Your buyer was a bit shifty in her message to you.  There seems to be a bit of feedback extortion in there. I think before I would respond I would call eBay and ask them if this is feedback extortion.  I would also ask them if she opens a case for item not described (so that she gets you to pay for return shipping) and in her own words to you it doesn’t fit, will you get a the defect removed?  Once you have those answers, I would message the buyer and say something like this.  “I’m so sorry the pants did not fit you the way you wanted. I put the measurements in my listing for this very reason to help buyers discern if the item will fit or not.  I will be happy to refund your money once the item is sent back.  Thank you for your purchase, I’m sorry it didn’t work out.”

I hope that eBay comes through for you and this buyer doesn’t take advantage of you.


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