eBay Faces Heated Questions About Feedback Removal At Summer Seller Check In

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 6-18-24

A post in the eBay community officially announces Feedback Updates, advising that feedback removal requests will now be reviewed by human customer service agents but still leaving details about those "dozen" policy updates very vague.

Seller Check-in Feedback Update
In an effort to make Feedback more fair and transparent for both sellers and buyers, eBay recently made changes to Feedback addressing some aspects of our removal policies that led to inconsistent outcomes. We are addressing these gaps, and apologize for any confusion or frustration you may have ex…

A More Fair Experience for Sellers and Buyers

Over the last year it became increasingly clear that our Feedback removal policies had become more and more arbitrary, which was creating inconsistent and sometimes unfair experiences for both sellers and buyers.

In response, we began work to create a more streamlined and consistent process for sellers to ask for feedback removals that was grounded in policy and didn’t depend on who, how, or when you asked for feedback to be removed.

However, as these changes were put into action they exposed gaps in our underlying policies, so that some feedback removal requests were rejected in situations where you deserved to be protected.

We take responsibility for these gaps and for not fixing them before we made changes to the removal processes. Since this spring, we’ve been working to update our policy.

New Changes to Our Feedback Policies

We’re glad to announce that more than a dozen Feedback policy changes have now taken effect on eBay. As we go forward, we’ll be adding more use cases where feedback removal is warranted. For just one example, we will remove feedback when a seller denies a buyer’s cancellation request, because per eBay policy a seller has discretion to accept or deny a cancellation request.

Finally, we’re dedicating staff to finding and investigating more removal inconsistencies.

What this means is that when you submit the form via Seller Help to request feedback removal, eBay team members will be able to remove feedback in more scenarios and do so more consistently. Removal requests will be reviewed individually by our customer service agents.

eBay is facing the heat of seller frustrations with recent feedback removal policy changes, addressing the issue head on in today's Summer Seller Check In event.

Seller complaints about automated feedback removal denials have been growing in recent months, with many noting that situations that would have previously qualified under clear seller protection policies are no longer be removed and that there is no longer a way to appeal or escalate many of these cases.

Longtime eBay Motors seller Joe Demarco (HubcapJoes) even took to his YouTube channel in April with an open appeal to CEO Jamie Iannone and VP Adam Ireland about the issue, telling his 21,000+ subscribers about a recent experience with receiving an undeserved negative feedback (where the buyer comment just said "thanks") that in the past eBay would have very likely removed either through the automated removal process or by contacting customer support - but this time he was unable to get any assistance or seller protection

Longtime Seller Appeals To eBay Execs About Recent Feedback Removal Changes
eBay Motors seller Joe Demarco takes to YouTube with open appeal to CEO Jamie Iannone about recent changes to eBay’s feedback removal system.

The problem has been exacerbated by the increasing use of AI and automated systems to handle critical support and trust and safety functionality previously handled by humans as eBay looks to cut costs after mass layoffs earlier this year.

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As eBay undertakes layoffs, users worry about increasing use of AI for critical support, trust & safety functions previously handled by humans.

Things have gotten so bad that it landed ex-VP Seller Community/now VP Global Regulatory, Trust & Monetization Andrea Stairs in the hot seat, acknowledging that recent changes have gone too far and often deny removal requests that should qualify under current policies and promising not only to fix those issues but also to expand those policies to include more protection for all sellers.

I know that recently the changes we've made to feedback and particularly to negative and neutral feedback removal have caused frustration in the community because in some cases they've made it harder to have feedback removed in situations where you should have been protected.

My team and I have been listening to your concerns, and I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts. They're very direct, but they're very helpful and I also want to acknowledge how important, important feedback and the whole feedback system is to all of us in the eBay community...

Wat I want to do today is walk through some of the changes we've made, why we made them and what we're doing to address some of the concerns that you've raised. Let me start by going back in time a little bit. Last year, we realized that our feedback removal policies had a certain degree of arbitrariness to them.

It was making things quite inconsistent in terms of how feedback was being removed. So we were creating some unfair experiences, both for our buyers and our sellers. We began to work to create a more streamlined and consistent process for sellers to ask for feedback removals that didn't depend on who you were, how you asked, or when you asked for the feedback to be removed.

So that all seems very reasonable but as we made those changes, what we found was that we had gaps in our underlying policies so that some of the feedback removal requests were then getting rejected in situations where we really ought to be protecting you, the sellers. My team and I have been very seized by this, and we take full responsibility for these gaps, obviously.

And we've been working really hard on making updates to the policy to address these gaps where feedback removal should be granted. In fact, we have more than a dozen policy changes queued up to take effect in the coming days. And we're also dedicating staff to finding and investigating more inconsistencies.

What this means for you is that when you submit the form via seller help to request feedback removal, the team will be able to remove feedback in more scenarios and do so more consistently. And we're going to be adding more use cases where feedback removal is warranted.

While Andrea's mea culpa speech was light on specifics, she did give one example of one of the ways eBay will be protecting sellers on feedback moving forward - when the seller denies a buyer's request to cancel an order.

As an example, we'll be removing negative feedback that occurs when a seller denies a buyer's cancellation request. Because per our policy, you as a seller have discretion to accept or deny a cancellation request. And so if you get negative feedback on that basis, it should be removed.

I'll update once more information is available at the rest of those policy changes are revealed, but for now - let us know in the comments below what your recent experiences with feedback protections have been like and what changes you'd like to see eBay make to make feedback more fair and useful for both buyers and sellers!

eBaySeller Updates

Liz Morton Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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