eBay sellers can block buyers who leave negative feedback

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by melstapler, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. melstapler

    melstapler Reissue Activist Thread Starter

    For many years, I've had a love/hate relationship with an established eBay seller who specializes in CDs. About half the time, they ship the correct title, while they're also notorious for shipping an entirely different item than what a customer has purchased. They have thousands of negative feedbacks from buyers who received an entirely different item from what they purchased (different/random artist/no connection to title ordered). For example, I ordered a Los Lobos CD and received a Barbra Streisand CD instead. This particular seller has problems with titles being incorrectly cataloged in the warehouse and when their employees are assigned the task of filling an online order, they refer to item numbers assigned to each title rather than going by the title or artist.

    I've spoken to two buyers who left a negative feedback after receiving incorrect items in their orders and were blocked from ever buying or bidding on items from this seller in the future. Apparently, eBay gives sellers the option to retaliate and block honest buyers who leave negative feedback, even when the seller is at fault.

    At the end of the day, I've come to accept the possibility that 50% of my orders will be incorrect. Sometimes it's better to take a loss on those items than risk being blocked from ever purchasing another item from a seller. Just know that if you do get frustrated and leave negative feedback, even if a seller doesn't do their part to correct the problem, they still have the power to prevent you from buying or bidding on their items in the future.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
    angelo73 likes this.
  2. cellery

    cellery Well-Known Member

    The Netherlands
    I say let them. If a conflict with a seller escalates far enough that I feel the need to leave negative feedback I doubt I'd want to buy from that seller again anyway.
    quicksrt, angelo73, powerq and 3 others like this.
  3. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    Negative feedback should be a last resort. It is amazing how there is a lack of civility, communication and common courtesy to lead people to be rather cavalier about their use of negative feedback.

    Sure, not getting a proper order or having it be in a condition that was worse than expected is frustrating but any issues can and should be worked out directly with the seller. If they make you whole, whether full refund or somehow fulfilling your original order, then why does it do any good to leave negative feedback? At the same time, if a negative is received, as a seller, why would they want you as a customer ever again?

    While there are some things about the eBay system I am not thrilled with, this one makes perfect sense.
    baconbadge and melstapler like this.
  4. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    I would never buy again from a seller to whom I have left negative feedback anyway. MAYBE I might want to if it were some larger operation like ImportCDs, but generally, if someone really disappoints me, I don't go there again.
    angelo73 and melstapler like this.
  5. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    If a buyer left me negative feedback, you can be sure I'd block them.
    Christian Hill, Trebor and melstapler like this.
  6. Vinyl Addict

    Vinyl Addict Forum Resident

  7. cellery

    cellery Well-Known Member

    The Netherlands
    Yup. Slightly off-topic but I have an odd story there. I enquired about some matrix etchings on a record someone had up as a buy it now. He updated the description but didn't reply to my message, and when I tried to buy the record I found out he'd blocked me from buying from him. Weirdest thing I ever had on eBay.
    melstapler likes this.

    MARTHY Forum Resident

    Agreed... Why would you want to buy again from a seller that ended up eliciting negative feedback from you?
    angelo73 and melstapler like this.
  9. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    New Orleans
    Correct. Based on the way one guy here constantly complains about ebay and discogs, I blocked him, just on the off chance that he might bid on a $5 DVD!
  10. MikaelaArsenault

    MikaelaArsenault Forum Resident

    New Hampshire
    Smart move of the person to do that.
    melstapler and lightbulb like this.
  11. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Forum Resident

    I've had something similar happen, but worse really. I asked about the condition of the vinyl. Got blocked. Probably a good thing.
    melstapler likes this.
  12. detroit muscle

    detroit muscle Forum Resident

    I haven't sold a lot of stuff on ebay, but blocked a buyer who falsely claimed that I had inaccurately described an item I was selling and filed a grievance against me.
    melstapler likes this.
  13. sparkydog

    sparkydog Forum Resident

    If a buyer asks a simple question I answer them. Honestly, whenever a potential buyer asks a really long detailed laundry list of questions about my items I just ignore them and block them. Who needs the aggravation? I can almost always be assured they'll want a refund for some reason.
    I've had buyers pull the worst crap on me. I sold a brand new Genesis CD/SACD box set a few years ago, sealed. I had sold several identical sets to others who were very happy with them. This scumbag replaced the CD/SACD jewel-case sets with his obviously used CD/DVD versions, and then had a nasty, super-belligerent complaint triggered to fire the second he got the package. He threatened me ten ways from Sunday saying it was a bait-and-switch. He had me over a barrel so I let him return the old switcheroo box set for a refund to avoid the bad feedback or worse.
    Another eBay seller says:
    "I find that people who ask a lot of questions are looking for a way to catch you in some kind of error, then when they get the item they can file a charge against in an effort to keep the item and get a refund. Block them."
    melstapler likes this.
  14. Bad Samaritan

    Bad Samaritan Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ
    Not feebay, but recently I had some gear for sale on Agon and had one potential buyer send me 12 pm's over 14 days asking questions about one of the items. I just knew this guy would be trouble and had decided that if he did meet my asking price that I was immediately going to refund him and tell him it sold elsewhere. He did make a few offers but luckily someone swooped in and paid in full. He then sent another PM stating that if I had answered his questions sooner he would have paid my asking price. Dodged a bullet there.
  15. melstapler

    melstapler Reissue Activist Thread Starter

    That makes sense, especially when you have buyers who attempt to fabricate lies and abuse the system. I don't think buyers should leave negative feedback unless it's an absolute last resort when a seller (who is actually at fault) has repeatedly ignored their emails or refuses to correct the situation. I've heard some folks say that the buyer has a moral obligation to leave appropriate feedback and warn other buyers of their positive and negative experiences, but have always preferred to avoid conflict. In some cases, that means cutting your losses and moving on.

    As a buyer, I'm not picky when it comes to condition or grading; as long as the title plays/works correctly. Also, I realize that the profit margins are very small when a seller is filling a large number of orders each day. Not only do some of the bigger sellers face labor costs, but I would imagine it's difficult to make money when many of their titles are under $20.

    I spend about $900 a month on music and it's gotten to the point where I've come to expect taking a small loss each month from titles which are either damaged or when the incorrect item is shipped. At any cost, it's better to maintain a good standing with these sellers in order to continue buying music from them.
    sparkydog likes this.
  16. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    You did good here and I think you did dodge a bullet.

    I listed a Zep II RL on ebay and had a local buyer ask if he could pick it up if he won and if I was entertaining offers. I said local pick up is fine and if he wanted to make an offer go ahead (it had not been up for long and there were no bids) and he offered $60. I politely turned him down by saying that I felt it would sell for a lot more than that, to which he disagreed so I stopped replying. I then noticed he bid on the record at twice that amount but had been out bid. Then after he had been outbid he sent me a message saying that "on closer inspection of the photos it looked like someone had used a dremel to etch "RL" into the deadwax and wanted to know if anyone else had question the legitimacy of my lp" I put him on the blocked buyer list right away and told him it was legit and left it at that. There was no way I wanted this guy bidding again.

    If you feel like something is off, I find that it usually is. :)
    melstapler likes this.
  17. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    New Orleans

    Surely you jest. It's only sellers on ebay who would even consider doing anything underhanded. Come now. The buyers are always absolute angels beyond reproach. ;)
    melstapler and eddiel like this.
  18. johnnybrum

    johnnybrum Forum Resident

    I've only ever blocked one buyer... Some clown who bought a used Criterion DVD for the grand sum of £6.00...

    Before I had even posted it to him, he sent me an email saying "make sure it is properly packed as I've had enough problems with sellers to last a lifetime"

    I made sure there was some bubblewrap inside and duly sent it to him...Got a weary response complaining that the disc was scratched, and he'd seen all this kind of thing before, and he wants refund. He even said "I've been there, got the T-shirt!"

    He sent the disc back, and, yes, there were some of the faintest, miniscule marks on the disc; I mean the kind of thing that you have to hold under a light to see, and in no way on God's earth could they ever, ever affect playback (a DVD isn't like a record, after all, it either plays or it doesn't, and his messages said nothing about the disc even getting anywhere near his actual player! Seems he just unwrapped it, and examined it with a magnifying glass)

    The guy was a total idiot; funny thing is that the disc wasn't even rare; he could have bought it brand new for £20 or something, if he was that bothered about hairline 'scratches'

    Once, I had concluded, and reimbursed all postage and costs, I blocked him...At least he didn't leave any feedback...
    melstapler likes this.
  19. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    You couldn't be more right in blocking that buyer. Your story reminds me of a comment I recall seeing in a listing many many many years ago. It said something along the lines of "don't buy if you feel a need to complain about amoeba footprints on your disc". It certainly makes one wonder about the endgame of someone who is buying a used Criterion title for £6, to complain about such minor disc wear and go through the hassle of a return.

    I've also received that advance email demanding proper packaging. It is as if being a seller since 1999 with feedback approaching 2,000 with zero negative or neutral feedback, that I just fell off the turnip truck and don't know how to ship. I will usually oblige those requests with an extra layer of bubble wrap and photographs of the packing process to help avert any claims of damage although I have never needed this (it'd probably be futile anyway).

    Not sure if it has been mentioned but non-paying bidders also deserve to be blocked.
  20. Vinyl Addict

    Vinyl Addict Forum Resident


    I've done this a few times as well. Some of them are just ignorant. I had a rare Motley Crue CD single on eBay. The price went up over $100, and the winner refused to pay, telling me it's too much $$$$
    Um, duh.....You are the one that bid that high.
    Instant block for him.
    melstapler likes this.
  21. Hero

    Hero Active Member

    Iv’e been trading (buying and selling) on eBay for nearly 20 years and I just had to chime in because some of these comments are really something.

    Sellers who do not describe items accurately far outnumber buyers who scam or are truly unreasonable. If a buyer notices a problem with something that you missed just make it right and accept the return. If a disc has scratches and you listed it as like new take it back because the buyer should not be stuck with it. That's not right.

    Usually when someone asks questions it is because they are interested in the item and do not want to be disappointed. If you are to lazy to carefully inspect the items you sell, describe them accurately and answer questions that makes you a bad seller. These are basic expectations if you wish to provide good customer service and be a decent ebayer.

    Next issue. You can’t block a person only an account. Many people have access to multiple accounts. Friends, family, etc. If you block people over nothing then you probably have received negative feedback specifically because you blocked someone and it annoyed them.

    As a buyer it is really tough because sellers embellish about the condition of items all the time. People describe items based on their memories and perception of the item but they don’t evaluate it with objectivity as a buyer would. Even if you ask questions sometimes you just can’t get through to them.

    Disc based media is a whole other issue because a disc will look beautiful in a dim room but when viewed in daylight it’s actually a mess. The following two scenarios happen all the time:

    1) A seller lists a CD that they didn't like and barely ever listened to. Hardley even touched it. Listed as like new.

    2) A seller quickly looks over a disc in dim lighting and it looks nice so they say like new.

    In both cases the disc is actually covered in scratches.

    When the buyer receives the item they attempt to return it and the seller goes into a rage, blocks the buyer and insists that it isn’t the disc they sent. eBay does the right thing and refunds the buyer so the seller goes on an internet forum writing about how unfair it is.

    Someone made a comment here about a scam with an sacd or dvd set. Are you sure these were factory sealed? Did you buy them directly from the manufacturer? Is it possible that the other buyers didn’t notice or just didn’t say anything? Or maybe two were factory sealed and the other was a return that got re-sealed. What if the buyer who requested a return was actually telling the truth? The scam you mention is pretty elaborate.

    As a seller I have only received two negative feedback comments in almost 20 years and I have never been scammed by a buyer. One comment was because a collector felt that I should have described the item better and he was very rude. I wasn't in a good mood so you know it probably could have been avoided. The other one is because I saw a listing that seemed like a scam and when I asked a question about it the seller got annoyed. After that he went and bought something from me using his friends account specifically to neg me. He got thrown off of eBay for trying to scam buyers with prepaid phone cards.

    Bottom line. If you list something as like new make sure it actually meets eBay's criteria for like new. Describe flaws to the best of your ability and when you make a mistake make it right. If that means inspecting a CD carefully in fluorescent lighting to make sure it is like new then so be it. It is a bit more work but it’s the right thing to do. Condition matters to a lot of people and eBay wants their buyers to feel confident when purchasing an item.

    eBay corporate makes up the rules not sellers so when I use eBay as a seller I try really hard to follow all of their policies very closely. I rarely have problems as a seller. On the other hand as a buyer I receive items that are not as described all the time and how I respond depends on how far off the condition is, the value and how the seller responds.
    Dave, GentleSenator and Reese like this.
  22. Sane Man

    Sane Man Forum Resident

    Bethlehem, PA
    I've done enough buying and selling on ebay to realize there are difficult people on both sides of it. Most of what I buy and sell is vinyl. I had an issue where I sold a sealed copy of Blackstar with plenty of photos. Got an email asking if the record was "Mint". Told the buyer it was sealed, that I have no way of knowing and hence why I simply referred to it as sealed and to look at the photos. Guy bought the record and promptly returned it because there was a slight corner bend (from the shrink) that was easily seen in the photos. Cost me time and money on both ends, so yes, I would prefer not to do business with that person again and blocked them.

    On the buying end, I've never returned a record, but have had good experiences that exceed my expectations and bad ones. The good ones are usually from fellow collectors that don't want the hassle of returns so they modestly undergrade. The bad ones (by and large) are from people that over grade the heck out of vinyl, i.e. it looks perfect to them only to shine a light on it when I see and it's scuffed and noisy as all get out. Typically, there is no deception here and it's just someone that has old records lying around that doesn't know/care how to grade and explain it properly. I chock it up to the risk with the medium, usually leave no feedback, and make a note to myself to be more skeptical if buying from the person in the future.
    SJP likes this.
  23. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    I've returned records over the years. I have no qualms about that, but I can be very lenient so I only return them if I paid NM prices and got nowhere near that. Sending one back tomorrow. I'm pretty sure the lp had a severe edge warp and was repaired using the Vinyl Flat. It has all the tell tale sings of heat exposure and weird after affects of flattening a severe edge warp which I have no experienced first hand. It also has noise issues as a result.

    I come across sellers that are just buys who found some records and list them and have no idea how to grade. My favourites are the ones that grade like this "See photos for condition" and of course it's impossible, even with the bet of photos to see the true condition, and of course there photos are never that great anyway. I think to myself, how can they think those photos are of any use? But I always pass on those auctions so I don't get ripped off.

    Anyway, I agree there are good and bad on both sides. But, let's face it, the eBay/paypal protection came about because of sellers running scams.
  24. ggergm

    ggergm red right returning

    I can't speak to the history of EBay's decision making but backing the buyer over the seller is standard operating procedure in business.

    Credit card companies all operate this way. You can say it's because the card holder is their customer, not the seller, which is a major part of it, but a seller has to go to extreme measures to get a credit card company to reject the buyer's claims. I once had a buyer attempt a $6,000 fraud on my stereo store and I had to pull out all the stops, including demonstrating fraudulent intent by the buyer in every step of the sale and that this buyer had defrauded other stores in the past, to not get charged back by the credit card company. Even then it was a close call and required my hiring a lawyer who specialized in these issues. A DA in Brooklyn ended up prosecuting this buyer over multiple fraudulent purchases.

    I'm not saying blocking a troublesome buyer is a bad idea. Over 30 years of retail sales, I told maybe half a dozen customers I didn't want their business anymore. But to block a customer because you think they might be trouble in the future? Personally, I'd never do that.

    I have always thought the old saw, "the customer is always right," is only half the story. It should read, "the customer is always right even when they are dead wrong." I was a sucker for a quick, easy and painless return, refunding the customer's money in full. Most likely two things would then happen and both were good. Either the customer would never come back again, relieving me of future headaches, or they'd come back and buy something from me and keep it. I'd make a sale. Only if they were into making multiple returns, and I certainly had those customers, too, would I then have a conversation with them as to how this was not a game.
  25. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Sellers had the ability to do that since the middle ages on ebay. As many pointed out, if you got to the point that you are so upset to leave a negative. I'll be happy for them to block me as I am unlikely to ever want to deal with them so they are doing you a favor. Buyers can not ignore or block sellers from appearing in your searches.

    I have bought many things I was unhappy with and yet I did not leave negatives. There is a seller I bought a lot from and every now and then sends me some overgraded records but I consider all the other vastly positive transactions and if it was cheap I just let it go. It has to be something outrageous for me to leave a neg and if that point is reached that's is the end of it so let them ban me.

    Additionally if you are banned and it is discovered and reported that you are using someone else's account to circumvent the ban that is grounds for suspension.
    melstapler likes this.

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