eBay and other Auction Feedback
June 7, 2009

I just linked to an eBay auction about a figure and saw this text in the auction.  I’ve seen it before.  It makes me cringe.  And usually I do not bid.

"Seller will LEAVE FEEDBACK in return once Buyers RECEIVED purchased items & LEFT FEEDBACK for Seller. "

According to this, feedback for the buyer will not be left until the buyer has left feedback for the seller.  To me, this is just plain wrong.  Why?

 When my money for my purchase gets to the seller, and my money has cleared, my half of the transaction is DONE.  Either I sent it or I did not.  Either I was fast about it or I was not.  Either I was easy to deal with or not.  Either way, my half is DONE.  My performance can be evaluated.  I have completed my obligation.  There is no reason why the seller cannot leave feedback at that point.

 Conversely, I cannot leave feedback until the purchased product arrives.   Did it arrive quickly or not.  Did it arrive intact or not.  Did it come complete or not.  These can only be evaluated after I receive the item.  The seller’s half of the transaction happens after my half.  I can only provide feedback after this half is done.

Its simple.
1. Buyer does his part. 
2. Seller evaluates. 
3. Seller does his part.  
4. Buyer evaluates.

The only reason I can see to request that the buyer leave feedback first is so that if the buyer gives bad feedback, the seller can use that against the buyer and give bad feedback as well, even if it is unwarranted.  Its almost like feedback blackmail.

So, if you ever see me on eBay, don’t expect me to follow what the seller above asks.  If I buy, seller must give feedback before I do as the buyer, because it just makes sense.  Otherwise no feedback will be left at all.

Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.





  • Andrew says:

    Ebay actually has rules against that now, and you can report the auction. It’s called feedback blackmail.

    • Erik superfriend says:

      Interesting, considering this is from a current auction.

      • Andrew says:

        I don’t see your link to the auction, but every page on ebay has a “report item” link. You can click on Listing Violations>Listing Policy Violations>Feedback Related and it gives you the option “Use of terms or conditions that limit or restrict leaving feedback.”

        It bothers me that ebay doesn’t explicitly say, “Sellers can’t threaten to withhold feedback until they receive theirs,” but I used to sell on ebay and I always thought that was something you couldn’t put in an auction.

        • Scott says:

          A rule like that would be meaningless anyway since you can’t force someone to leave feedback if they don’t feel like it.

        • The policy states, “Sellers are not permitted to include in their listings or terms of sale any conditions that limit or restrict the buyer from leaving feedback.” Nothing described here even comes close to violating that policy.

  • Scott says:

    I think seller’s do that to protect themselves too. Yes, once you send the money your part is done. However, for all the seller knows you could claim you never received it, claimed it was damaged with no proof, etc. I’ve seen neutral or negative feedback left because someone didn’t like the movie they bought. I think it’s done so that the seller isn’t on record saying the buyer is great, leaving a dishonest or just plain obnoxious buyer free to do what they want.

    Retailtory feedback has worked both ways. I myself have had a case where the buyer did not pay. I left negative feedback, and then the buyer did the same.

    Also, the seller can’t leave negative feedback anymore, only positive or neutral. That’s unfair IMHO, since that does not leave buyer and seller on equal footing.

  • Chip Cataldo says:

    I do just what the guy in the auction does simply because I leave positive feedback for the buyer, and when he receives his stuff, I get nothing. I remind them to give me positive feedback, and I get…nothing. This, coupled with the fact that sellers can now no longer leave buyers negative feedback, is quite the BS situation.

    • Erik superfriend says:

      I agree, not being able to leave negative feedback for buyers is crazy. But I stand by what I said. If I’ve done my part first, I deserve to get feedback first.

  • j1h15233 says:

    It’s a bad situation now on eBay with feedback. I rarely sell on there so I’m often in the buyer situation. I always pay right as I buy something and if they don’t leave me feedback before I’ve received my item then they will not receive any from me until they do so. I’ve never had this problem though so I guess I’ve been lucky.

  • Oddjob says:

    This is the problem with the honestly policy. Some folks will never be honest regardless of what their service is.

  • xrmc20 says:

    Agree with your blog totally

  • Vader says:

    Agree with your points. I normally don’t bother leaving feedback for sellers who do not leave feedback first.

  • Naughty Boy says:

    They should come up with a better system. I remember before the change(seller not being able to leave negative feedback), E-bay seemed too pro-seller. I had several expereinces wherein the seller cancelled the transaction because he wanted the payment earlier than the allowed 1 week payment (Item did not state “immediate payment required”). I also do not like when the seller, starting the bid really low, like $0.99. then pullsout the auction about a day or less than 24 hours to go just because no one hasn’t bidded on the item yet, of course a lot of buyers wanting a bargain is waiting to “snipe” the auction.

  • That happened to me not long after ebay started. The seller emailed asking me to leave feedback to which I responded that once I received the item I would do so. He then began demanding that I leave feedback and when I didn’t he gave me negative feedback saying that I didn’t leave feedback! Apparently he had done it to many other people and I was contacted by one of them and after 20 of us forwarded email to ebay that he had sent he was shut down.

  • If you walk into my brick and mortar store, pay for an item with a credit card, leave with it, and then file a chargeback two weeks later, you’re a thief. The same applies if you file a chargeback through PayPal immediately after receiving an item exactly as it was described in an auction listing. If you think you’ve, “done your part,” just by paying for something, you haven’t given the seller’s position even the slightest bit of consideration.

    So, if you ever see me on eBay, don’t expect me to follow what the seller above asks.

    Well, let’s just go ahead and take care of that right now. My eBay ID is compulsive.collector. Please do me a favor and refrain from ever bidding on any of my auctions, and you won’t have to worry about it. Do I wait until I receive feedback to leave it? Not necessarily. I also don’t get in a hurry to leave feedback for people who are more interested in getting a little virtual pat on the back than getting what they paid for quickly and in good condition. I don’t need money from someone like that, and I would prefer never to deal with them. The same goes for everyone else who feels like he/she “deserves” feedback right away after paying for something. Do us both a favor, and avoid my auctions. When I list something on eBay, I do it because I want to sell it, not to dole out high-fives to people who feel entitled to praise because they paid for something they bought.

  • Oddjob says:

    Tell us how you really feel, lol.

  • Spilldog says:

    I agree! It sounds like the seller in question is no stranger to negative feedback, so he holds your feedback “hostage” until he gets feedback from the buyer. Losers like this are a dime-a-dozen on Ebay!

  • j1h15233 says:

    Well I ran into this today. Didn’t even notice a seller hadn’t left me feedback despite my immediate payment. Leaving feedback for him had slipped my mind (for about 3 days after I got my item) and he sent me a message asking if I got it and to please leave feedback and then he would do the same. Now I went and immediately left him feedback because it was a smooth transaction and then he left me feedback but there was no reason for him to wait until I did.

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