When you've been let down by an eBay trading partner, it's easy to get upset, especially if you feel as though you've lost a lot of money been dealt with unfairly in the process. In fact, your first impulse might be to go and leave a scathing negative feedback response to warn other eBay members about just what a jerk you've encountered.
Don't. Or at least, don't do it just yet.
The eBay feedback system is simple, functional, and generally reliable, and as a result many eBay traders have a tendency to use feedback as their first line of attack or defense in resolving disputes. This isn't, however, what the feedback system is for, as can be seen by the fact that feedback comments are limited to a single line and don't allow for multiple replies.
More to the point, leaving negative feedback immediately often removes the very best incentive your trading partner might have had to resolve the situation with you amicablythe desire to avoid that very negative.
What To Do InsteadThink of feedback as the tool that you use to report on a transaction once everything is said and done and not before. If there are still windows through which to negotiate, by all means do so!
Follow these general steps when you're unsatisfied about an eBay transaction, before you think about leaving negative feedback.
- Contact your trading partner and air your grievance. It's surprising just how often eBay traders are literally blindsided by negative feedback, having had no idea that their trading partner was unhappy or just what their complaint had been.
- Ask for a resolution. Tell your trading partner what you'll be satisfied with. Not what you want in an ideal universe if the stars all line up correctly. Remember, there are two parties in every trade, and both should ideally be happy at the end of the day. This takes patience and compromise.
- Open a dispute with eBay. If you're unable to resolve your dispute through your trading partner directly, use the dispute resolution center at eBay to notify eBay of the issue and to provide your trading partner an opportunity to state their own case.
- Get outside forces involved. Contact banks or law enforcement if necessary for high-value items. Open a dispute if you've paid for an item that you haven't received. Contact the authorities if you've received a bad check or a charge from a stolen card. These agencies will also follow up on your behalf.
If you've exhausted the options above and still aren't satisfied, then by all means, leave an honest negative feedback report about your trading partner. If you plan to leave a negative without first going through the steps above, however, be sure to first ask yourself an important question:
"If I leave a negative, is it likely to ultimately take me closer to, or farther away from, being satisfied with my transaction?"