In November 2007 I had my first bad ebay experience. I bought a power cable for my powerbook (the old one literally spontaneously combusted in front of my eyes), and the ebay advert said the item was in London, so it should have only taken a couple of days to arrive. I was doing some freelance work at that time so it was really important for me to get this cable ASAP. The seller had 98% positive rating, so I thought it would be fine.
Turns out, the item came from Hong Kong and took three weeks to arrive! This meant I couldn’t work for three weeks, as I had no access to my computer. OK, three weeks isn’t the end of the world, but the point is that it took that long because it came from Hong Kong, and the seller had LIED about its location. I wouldn’t have bought from them if I had known the truth.
Multiple complaints to the seller, ‘eworldsky‘, while I was waiting for the product, resulted in them offering to refund me (but when I said yes, not actually refunding me). When the product finally arrived, I left negative feedback for the seller, because s/he had lied about the item location. I would not have bought from them if I knew it was coming from Hong Kong, because I needed the item quickly. Eworldsky then asked me to remove the negative feedback in return for a £4 refund. This I see as blatant bribery, so I refused. For the good of the community, I thought people should know that this person is lying, so I didn’t take their bribe.
In response to this, Eworldsky left ME negative feedback in retaliation, and told me the only way to remove this feedback would be by mutual withdrawl. This is basically blackmail. I found that option to be unethical because Eworldsky deserves negative feedback whereas I do not. And all I get for being honest and ethical for the good of the community is that my 100% positive feedback is ruined forever.
Further research into that person’s profile shows that they have received 111 negative feedback responses so far in the last six months! They still have a 98% positive feedback rating though, because they sell thousands of items. There are many ‘mutually withdrawn’ feedbacks on their profile, no doubt as a result of them bribing / blackmailing people to remove negative feedback. Also, many of their negative comments are along the same lines as mine, saying that items are being sent from Hong Kong and taking weeks to arrive, after Eworldsky claimed they were in London.
I looked on the Ebay terms of service and they state that they will not remove feedback that is left in retaliation. OK, that’s annoying, but what about banning users for attempted bribery and blackmail? I’ve emailed Ebay a few times about this and so far they’ve just explained to me what I already knew, that they can’t remove un-true or retaliatory feedback (they did tell me how to respond to the negative comment I got from Eworldsky, but people might not see this unless they click through to see comments). I would like to know what action is going to be taken against a user lying about their location, and attempting to bribe and blackmail other users. Hopefully if they are banned from Ebay, their feedback would be removed from my Ebay profile too.
My plan is now to contact these 111 other people who have had a negative experience with Eworldsky, and get them to comment here with their experience, in order to collate evidence against Eworldsky, and ask them to email Ebay too. I’ve already started by contacting one user – who has also had their 100% rating ruined in exactly the same way.
Note – this all comes at an interesting time. Ebay have recently announced that they are going to remove the ability for sellers to leave negative feedback for buyers. At least, in the US anyway. I wonder – when they do this – will they apply the new rule in retrospect? Will all feedback ever left by sellers in the past be removed? I doubt it but I hope so!
Note 2 – The power cable which arrived in November 2007 broke a week ago, and I’ve bought another replacement via Ebay on Monday (from a different seller). This one arrived today! That’s more like it!