But while the feedback system is relatively clear in theory, just how does it work in practice? What numbers are “good” feedback numbers, and what numbers are “bad” feedback numbers? What things should you look for (or look out for) apart from numbers when evaluating the feedback of a potential trading partner?
This guide is intended to make feedback evaluation quick and easy.
Evaluating Feedback Percentage
Feedback percentage is calculated as the total percentage of feedback transactions for the member that were rated positively. Feedback percentage is thus a good indicator of an eBay member’s trustworthiness—the likelihood that they are "on the level"—that they are honest traders that intend to hold up their end of the bargain and that are capable of doing so.
Here is a rough guide for evaluating feedback percentages.
- 100% Feedback Percentage: Perfect. This buyer/seller has no negative ratings thus far; no-one they have dealt with has been dissatisfied.
- 99.8% to 99.9% Feedback Percentage: Excellent. Only 1-2 of every 1,000 trading partners has been dissatisfied when dealing with this person.
- 99.4% to 99.7% Feedback Percentage: Very good. Only 3-6 of every 1,000 trading partners has been dissatisfied when dealing with this person.
- 99.0% to 99.3% Feedback Percentage: Good. As many as 1 in every 100 trading partners has been dissatisfied when dealing with this person.
- 98.0% to 98.9% Feedback Percentage: Fair. As many as 1 in every 50 trading partners has been dissatisfied when dealing with this person.
- 95.0% to 97.0% Feedback Percentage: Somewhat poor. As many as 1 in every 20 trading partners has been dissatisfied when dealing with this person.
- 90.0% to 96.0% Feedback Percentage: Poor. As many as 1 in every 10 trading partners has been dissatisfied when dealing with this person.
- Below 90.0% Feedback Percentage: Beware! More than 1 in every 10 trading partners has been dissatisfied when dealing with this person—and your chances of being dissatisfied when trading with them are pretty good as well.
In practice, it rarely pays to try to buy from sellers with a feedback percentages below 99.0% and you should do your utmost to find sellers with feedback percentages that are higher than this. By the same token, it rarely pays to keep bids from buyers with feedback percentages below 90.0% and you should do your utmost to watch your auctions and cancel such bids.
Evaluating Feedback ScoreFeedback scores are calculated as the total of positive ratings from unique trading partners minus the total of negative ratings from unique trading partners. Feedback scores are therefore the primary indicator of an eBay member’s level of experience as an online trader—higher numbers mean more experience.
Experience is important for several reasons. It means that the member in question will be more adept at solving problems as the arise. Experienced sellers, similarly, are more likely to be prompt in shipping, to pack items carefully, to deliver items that match their descriptions closely, and to be available for questions or communication. Experienced buyers are more likely to pay quickly and to provide clear shipping details and a correct address. They are also less likely to cancel bids.
Here is a rough guide for evaluating feedback scores.
- 1000+ Feedback Score: Veteran trader. This eBay member has bought and/or sold a very large quantity of goods on eBay. They know what they are doing and likely know how to handle any problems that come up. They have also followed to rules over the long term—at least long enough to have built up a score this high.
- 500-999 Feedback Score: Very experienced. This eBay member has bought and/or sold a very large quantity of goods on eBay and is likely to be able to follow through on all counts.
- 100-499 Feedback Score: Experienced. This eBay member has been trading long enough to have encountered most of the types of complications that arise when trading online, and are experienced enough to help inexperienced buyers/sellers along.
- 50-99 Feedback Score: Somewhat experienced. This eBay member is hitting their stride on eBay. They may not have traded as much as some, but they aren’t clueless either. In most circumstances they will be on top of things, though complex issues may still present delays.
- 10-49 Feedback Score: Somewhat inexperienced. This eBay member isn’t brand new, but they may not have had to face many of the common issues with shipping, payment, and communication that can arise in online trading. Best paired with an experienced trading partner.
- 0-9 Feedback Score: Inexperienced and/or new to eBay. This eBay member may be well-intentioned, but they will need help at every step of the transaction. They are unlikely to be fast in paying (if a buyer) and/or shipping (if a seller) and they are likely to make mistakes. They have also not traded long enough to demonstrate commitment to their trading partners under all conditions. Trade with patience and caution.
In practice, only experienced traders should enter into transactions with anyone having a feedback score less than 10, and anyone with a feedback score less than 50 should give pause to anyone who isn’t at least somewhat experienced.