A little damage control will help save a bruised reputation.
The game isn’t over when another eBay member leaves feedback for you; you have the opportunity to respond to any feedback comment in your profile. Although this feature is handy for thanking users for leaving you positive feedback, its real value is for damage control when someone leaves neutral or negative feedback for you.
Often, one’s instinct is to use this tool as a means of retaliation—to “get back” at the other user for leaving a nasty comment. But given the importance of feedback in the eBay community, your main goal should be to use it to lessen the impact of such comments on your own reputation.
For example, consider the following complaint lodged against you, a seller, by an unhappy bidder:
|Item arrived damaged; very expensive to repair. Lousy seller.|
Obviously, this is the wrong response:
|Stupid buyer! What a jerk for complaining! Now you get nothing.|
Think of the message this sends to other people, prospective future customers, who might scrutinize your feedback profile [Hack #1] . It doesn’t address the problem, and since your response shows up only in your own feedback profile, it only serves to hurt you. Instead, consider this reply:
|Please contact me with all problems, and I’ll do my best to make it right.|
This sends a subtle message to the buyer, should he ever choose to return and view your feedback, but more importantly, it makes it appear to other bidders that you are the reasonable one, and this particular customer was nothing more than a crackpot. It also reassures potential customers that you will address problems and won’t just leave your bidders twisting in the wind.
If you feel the bidder will be understanding and cooperative once you follow up with an email, you may wish to request to have the feedback retracted [Hack #7] . Naturally, getting no bad feedback is the most desirable outcome.
The same approach applies if you’re a bidder, and a seller leaves the following feedback for you:
|Deadbeat! Buyer bid high and never paid. Avoid this guy!|
The common response among inexperienced bidders is often to do nothing, either for fear that something bad will happen to them, or simply because of a lack of familiarity with the system. A response that explains why the aforementioned nonpayment might have been reasonable is usually the best choice:
|“Seller never responded to emails; I gave up and purchased another one.”|
|“Seller changed the terms of the sale, and I couldn’t comply.”|
|“I was in the hospital getting a finger transplant, so I couldn’t click Pay Now.”|
But again, when a seller leaves negative feedback for you, the first course of action should be to contact the seller and try to resolve the problem. If everything is worked out, the seller might be willing to cooperate in having the feedback removed [Hack #7] .
See “Retract Your Bid Without Retracting Your Bid” [Hack #32] for some reasonable approaches a bidder can use to get out of a deal, often unscathed by negative feedback.
To reply to feedback left about you, go to My eBay → Feedback → Go to Feedback Forum → Reply to feedback received, and a special version of your feedback profile will appear.
Click Reply next to the appropriate comment. (Be careful that you choose the right one, because replies to feedback cannot be retracted.) The Reply to Feedback Received page will appear, as shown in Figure 1-5.
Inspect the original comment, and then type your response and click Leave Reply when you’re done. Note that you can post only one reply to any single feedback comment, so make it count!
As a responsible eBay user, you may wish to do damage control on another user’s feedback profile. For example, if you’ve left negative feedback for someone and they’ve since rectified the problem, you can return and post a follow-up, reassuring other people that the issue was eventually addressed.
On the other hand, if you leave a positive comment for someone who immediately thereafter causes you trouble (thinking, of course, that it’s safe to do so), you can amend your comment with a negative follow-up.
If you’ve left feedback for someone, and they’ve responded to it, as described earlier in this hack, you may wish to post a follow-up response. Note that it isn’t required that someone reply to a comment before you can post a follow-up.
Although your follow-up won’t have any effect on the recipient’s feedback rating, anyone inspecting the profile [Hack #1] will see what you’ve written. But more importantly, your follow-ups appear in the Left for Others section of your own Member Profile, and will contribute to how you appear to your prospective future customers, should they take the time to look.
To post a follow-up comment, go to My eBay → Feedback → Go to Feedback Forum → Follow up to feedback left.