eBay is planning to change its feedback system to stop sellers from leaving negative comments unless the buyer hasn't paid in a certain timeframe or a dispute hasn't been opened. Furthermore, no retaliation in the form of negative feedback will be allowed once the buyer has posted a rating. A dispute will have to be open to post feedback for buyers and the process will have to be approved by a human to review both feedbacks.
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I think this is a good move. The majority of my negative feedback on eBay has been retalitory or in some cases fake feedback from stalkers.
I wrote an eBay blog entry about "escrowing feedback" some time back:
If eBay put negative feedback into escrow ... everything would be solved.
What do I mean?
When a buyer or seller wants to leave negative feedback they are presented with the following:
Note ... your negative feedback will not be immediately visible on the feedback profile of the user you are attempting to leave it.
The user will be contacted to inform them of the negative feedback so that they have the opportunity to respond. If, within 15 days from the notice a resolution can be reached, you will have the chance to return to this page and confirm the negative feedback comment on the user's account
eBay could possibly even make money off of this. They could do just the opposite of Squaretrade ... instead of paying to have a negative comment removed through Squaretrade ... a user that feels that they don't want to go through the 15 day wait and response plus confirmation from the seller, could pay to leave the negative feedback comment. OR buyers that leave more than 3 negatives within a 30 day period could be put on probation and pay bail to bid.
It is my opinion that the eBay feedback system is starting to fail ... mostly due to retaliation. eBay needs to address this issue soon.
The $$ could be refunded if the seller ends up being suspended or receives more than 3 negatives in a 30 day period. You'd be surprised at how easy all of this would be to implement into eBay and how much of the code is already in place to automate a process like this.