Longtime Seller Appeals To eBay Execs About Recent Feedback Removal Changes

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Longtime eBay Motors seller Joe Demarco (HubcapJoes) took to his YouTube channel this week with an open appeal to CEO Jamie Iannone and VP Adam Ireland about recent changes to eBay's feedback removal system.

Joe told 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.

What I want to address in this video is the lack of eBay seller protection with unwarranted negative feedback. It's been going on for some time I guess...but the year 2024 has really exacerbated it, it's absolutely off the charts...

...They want you to use the automated system on the site itself and that would be fine if it actually worked but in this video I'm going to prove to you it didn't work okay. I did three things after I received this unfair negative feedback.

Number one - I tried using the link on the site which failed in less than two hours. I knew I would never get a positive response from that because it never works and that is the basic consensus of most eBay sellers.

Number two - I then requested a call back and I got a concierge rep who was very sympathetic he looked at the situation and he agreed with me that I did nothing wrong. Even better, this representative actually sells an eBay himself so he understands the nuances and he said to me Joe you did nothing wrong here you don't deserve this negative I'm going to escalate it to the removal department.

But he basically said don't hold your breath Joe because it probably won't
happen and sadly he was right...

Three - I contacted eBay for business through Facebook they knock me down as well saying the feedback doesn't violate eBay policies but I can prove to you that it does.

Not only is Joe a 25 year seller on the platform, he's also heavily involved in running seller meetups and other events promoted on eBay's own seller events page - in other words, the kind of seller eBay should be actively engaging with and taking feedback from.

HubcapJoes is also a Top Rated Seller on eBay, and thus should be afforded the seller protections promised as a benefit of this program. Why is eBay no longer living up to this promise?

Many buyers and sellers alike have in the past been horrified when eBay clearly engaged in mass feedback scrubbing for select sellers, like when they removed tens of thousands of negatives Reebok received after a major discount snafu.

But should regular sellers who work hard to maintain their Top Rated status have those protections nullified and ignored simply because eBay has been unethical in their handling of feedback removal in the past?

Joe isn't the only one who's noticed an unannounced shift in how eBay seems to be handling feedback removal requests.

Many sellers in the eBay community have been voicing similar frustrations in the last few months and on a recent eBay for Business Facebook post with over 200 comments (many of them sellers airing frustration and concerns), another seller described experiencing the almost the exact same scenario as Joe when she received a negative feedback with the comment 'thx".

eBay has been increasingly blurring the lines between the original intent of the feedback system (peer to peer comments between buyers and sellers about their experiences with each other) and product reviews with recent changes to allow pictures to be included and requiring buyers to rate products as part of the feedback process.

eBay Seller Feedback Morphing Into Product Reviews Leaving Users Confused & Frustrated
eBay feedback changes continue to blur lines with product reviews, now requiring buyers to rate items in order to leave seller feedback.

Is this shifting definition and purpose part of the reason why eBay is now refusing to assist sellers with removing unwarranted negative feedback?

Sellers have also been speculating for months that eBay is increasingly using AI or other automated systems to make most feedback removal request determinations and that human review is no longer part of the process.

eBay Layoffs Loom Large, Sellers Worry Support May Be Replaced By AI
As eBay undertakes layoffs, users worry about increasing use of AI for critical support, trust & safety functions previously handled by humans.

While eBay does not always explicitly disclose the use of AI for these determinations, it would not be surprising given the other changes we've seen with increasing use of AI for other crucial customer service and trust and safety functions that were previously handled by humans.

In fact, at a recent investor conference, CEO Jamie Iannone proudly boasted that no longer having to pay for human customer service reps to read detailed explanations about business impacting issues from sellers before responding to their requests for help is "fundamentally changing the pace of innovation" for the company.

eBay deals with a lot of customer support between buyers and sellers. And that customer agent sometimes had to read like a 12 paragraph e-mail where somebody explained it, we would hire someone to read that.

Now we have AI read that e-mail, write the initial response. So it's fundamentally changing our pace of how we work and the pace of innovation.

This abrupt shift may have gone over easier if there were still avenues to appeal or have the decision reviewed but sellers report being consistently stymied at every turn when trying to get support in situations where they believe the apparently automatic determination got it wrong.

Has eBay purposely cracked down and cut off avenues for assistance in an effort to force sellers to become acclimated to the new reality of increasingly AI driven, automated and self-service "support"?

Let us know in the comments below how your recent eBay feedback removal request experiences have gone and if you think eBay needs to do more to protect sellers from negative feedback for issues that are out of their control!

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!