How to Remove Negative Feedback on eBay – And Deal With Those You Can’t

19 May

I can’t over emphasize how important minimizing negative feedback is to sales on eBay.  Every additional negative feedback received will cause more and more potential bidders to purchase items from somewhere else.  The most careful buyers on eBay are also usually the ones willing to bid more on an item from a seller with a stellar reputation.  This is part of the reason why sellers with 100% feedback routinely receive much higher prices on the exact same item than sellers with lower feedback percentages.  A smart bidder combs through feedback, uses specialized tools and will only purchase from sellers with the best reputations.  Buying on an auction site is unique, in that it isn’t like purchasing from a reputable store where you know you’ll be taken care of and can return if unsatisfied.  Paying a stranger to provide an item they’ve never seen is always risky.  Your goal is to convince potential bidders that you are a trustworthy seller and will ultimately deliver the item as advertised.  Your seller reputation is one of the only things a potential buyer has to base their decision on whether or not they want to make a purchase.  Bidders aren’t telepathic.  They don’t know that you’re really honest, professional, and fair if it isn’t reflected in your feedback score and comments.

Even the most honest, hardworking sellers receive negative feedback.  Part of what makes a great eBay seller is how they deal with and respond to negatives.  First of all, read eBay’s polices on feedback abuse feedback extortion, feedback manipulation and instances when eBay will remove negative feedback.  It’s almost impossible to get eBay to remove negative feedback unless there’s cursing/racist comments, the buyer states real information like your name or address, the buyer purchased an item and immediately left a negative, or they clearly say that the only reason they’re leaving a negative is because of customs charges.  Nonetheless, it doesn’t hurt to try, but it’s a long shot unless it’s a cut and dry policy violation.  You can report violations to eBay at http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/report_problem.html. EBay also removes feedback if the buyer did not respond to the unpaid item reminder or it was clear that the buyer had no intention of completing the transaction when they purchased it.

The only other way to get negative feedback removed by eBay is to report another violation the buyer had made.  If the buyer swore in a message or otherwise did something against eBay policy, you can report it using the link above.  If the buyer does get suspended, all of the neutral and negative feedback they left for others will be removed by eBay.

Since it’s incredibly rare for eBay to remove negative feedback, you should start on the next step immediately.  I have a guide on eBay Feedback Revision which details the process of convincing buyers to change their feedback from a negative to a positive comment.  Most buyers are willing to work out a reasonable resolution and revise their feedback if you go about doing it the right way.  Feedback Revision is the best tool available to sellers when it comes to maintaining a great seller reputation.  If you can convince buyers to revise their feedback, it’s almost as though they never left a negative at all.

With enough transactions under your belt, there will be a time when you deal with a buyer who is unwilling to revise their feedback and has not violated any eBay policy.  The best way to deal with these negative feedbacks is to reply to them with a statement about how you tried or succeeded at resolving the buyer’s problem.  To get to the reply to feedback page, go to the Sitemap and on the far right column under “Feedback,” choose “Reply to Feedback Received.”  Many sellers believe replying to a negative feedback calls more attention to it.  If a potential buyer is already searching your feedback for negatives, they’re going to notice the large red minus icon along with the comment whether there is a reply or not.  Use the reply space wisely.  Never respond to the feedback with anything inflammatory about the buyer.  Don’t say, “LIAR! BUYER STOLE ITEM AND MONEY! I HOPE YOU DIE!” or “RUDE BUYER IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE ADDED TO BLOCK LIST!”  It is highly unlikely that anyone that deals with the troublesome buyer in the future will see the reply you left to the buyer’s feedback, so there isn’t much use in trying to warn other sellers.  Venting about the buyer in your reply is counterproductive because it will make you seem like you aren’t particularly friendly and are not interested in taking care of your buyers.  You want to come across as a professional seller who did everything possible to resolve the situation and this is your only opportunity to make this clear to other potential buyers.  Say something like, “Offered Buyer Full Refund. Did Not Hear Back. Plz Contact to Resolve” or “Full Refund Issued.  I Apologize For Lost Item. Plz Contact For Replacement”  You can lie about what you did to resolve the problem, but you run the risk of the buyer following up with a comment calling you out on it.  As the seller, you get one reply to each feedback and the buyer also gets one reply.  If the buyer leaves a negative and immediately adds a follow-up reply, you can add your reply and the buyer will be unable to reply to your comment.  In other words, both the buyer and the seller only get one reply no matter what.  A carefully constructed and thoughtful reply can take some of the sting out of a negative feedback.  Bidders will be more likely to bid on your items if you reply professionally and state how you resolved the buyer’s problem.

Of course, the best way to avoid negative feedback is to proactively deal with buyers’ problems.  Unfortunately, many buyers are unaware that most sellers are willing to work with buyers to resolve differences.  You should consider adding a note in your listing description that tells buyers to contact you with any problems before leaving feedback.  This will help reduce buyers who leave negative feedback without giving the seller a chance to resolve the problem.  Finally, do not leave buyers positive feedback with negative comments.  It’s a violation of eBay policy and can lead to a suspension of your account.

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