Changes to eBay's feedback policy are slated to begin rolling out this month, including a controversial rule that blocks sellers from leaving negative or neutral feedback for buyers they consider to be bad trading partners.
The new rule, announced in January, riled longtime sellersmany of whom boycotted the site, claiming the revised policy strips them of essential protections against fraudsters and troublemakers within the eBay community.
eBay executives defended the decision as an effort to weed out the bullies, allowing buyers to leave honest feedback about sellers without fear of reprisal. At the same time, the new policy gives greater protection to eBay's top sellers by mandating a cooling off period before a buyer can leave feedback.
According to Brian Burke, director of eBay's global feedback policy, the new policy is slated to launch the week of May 19 for eBay.com in the U.S. and eBay.ca and eBay.cafr in Canada. eBay users in the U.K. and Ireland will see the changes starting May 15.
The new policy includes the following changes:
- Sellers may only leave positive feedback for buyers.
- Buyers must wait 7 days before leaving negative or neutral feedback for active PowerSellers who have been on eBay for at least 12 months.
- The feedback system will now remind buyers of the need to communicate with sellers, and that cross-border transactions take longer to complete.
- Members will receive credit for repeat feedback, retroactive to 1996.
- Positive feedback percentage will be based on the past 12 months, and will include neutral feedback in the calculation.
- eBay will remove negative and neutral feedback if a member is suspended, or when a buyer fails to respond to the Unpaid Item process.
- The feedback window will close 60 days after a transaction, down from 90.
- Sellers may block bids from buyers who have been reported by other sellers for eBay buying policy violations.
Additionally, eBay has decided to eliminate the Mutual Feedback Withdrawal process. Under the new rules, it would leave sellers vulnerable to feedback extortion, Burke noted. Mutual agreement from third-party feedback mediation services, such as SquareTrade, will also no longer be accepted, he said.
eBay also announced plans to expand Detailed Seller Ratingsa star-based performance rating systemto Half.com in the coming months.
This article was updated on May 7, 2008.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.