Things I wish people would remember when buying and selling on eBay – Part 1

Piggy BankBelieve it or not there was a time before eBay was all ‘business’…where it wasn’t so much about making money as it was about providing an environment for buyers and sellers to meet…where people could sell unwanted goods in a safe environment and where people could grab themselves a great deal…Sadly the eBay shopping culture has shifted and those good ol’ days are seriously under threat.

While of course there are still bargains to be found and great people to interact with, the fun and spontaneous environment of eBay is suffering at the hands of some unprincipled buyers and sellers.

With seller fees continuing to increase, the use of automated bidding on the rise and an undercurrent of rogue buyers and sellers, it pays to be vigilant. We need to make a return to a more innocent time of online shopping by focusing on the community values which first made eBay such a great place to shop.

Leaving Feedback – On completion of an eBay transaction, buyers and sellers are able to rate their overall sale experience by leaving feedback on eachother’s performance. Each individual feedback score combines to create a feedback profile for each eBay member.

Each transaction can be graded by a buyer and seller as being ‘positive’, ‘negative’ or ‘neutral’. In support of this overall rating, further detail about a transaction experience can be left in the form of additional comments. Given that eBay buyers and sellers interact with eachother indirectly, they are reliant on this feedback left by other eBay members to trust that transactions will proceed as expected.

Whether an experience has been good, bad or indifferent, eBay members should leave feedback for buyers and sellers they deal with so that the community can be better informed. In times gone by sellers would leave feedback for buyers once payment was received. However after some buyers took advantage of this and failed to reciprocate good feedback, sellers now normally wait until buyers leave feedback before doing the same.

When an item has been received in good order, the buyer should leave positive feedback for the seller. In turn, given this positive feedback the seller should followup with positive feedback for the buyer. Neutral feedback should be left if a purchase experience has been below par, but not devastatingly awful. Negative feedback should only be considered as a last resort as it leaves a lasting bad mark against an eBay member’s profile. Failing to leave feedback altogether is just downright rude.

Leaving feedback is a fundamental courtesy which should be upheld by sellers and buyers to maintain the friendly community environment.

Bidding in Strange Amounts – Once a starting price has been set by a seller, bidders are free to enter the maximum amount they wish to pay for that item. Bidding is then open to all bidders until the auction end time. Until then bidding increases until the bidder who entered the highest maximum bid wins the item.

Entering strange bid amounts such as $5.37 or $9.33, is just a sneaky way to try to win an auction. While bidding in such amounts may win you an item it will do more to frustrate sellers and other bidders than prove how clever you are. Until the day that one cent pieces come back into circulation, buyers should bid confidently in amounts that equate to legal tender.

Bid increments in real amounts simply make logical sense and help to ensure that if you win an item you win on the basis of fair play.


  1. MC

    “Until the day that one cent pieces come back into circulation, buyers should bid confidently in amounts that equate to legal tender.”

    This line confused me… I wasn’t aware that there were countries that didn’t have one cent pieces.

  2. Wanderer

    The Australia Government removed one and two cent coins from circulation a while back, so the smallest coin you’ll get in the land of aus is the five cent piece.

  3. Tracey

    Hi MC – Thanks to Wanderer for responding to this…yes in the land of Oz we no longer have anything below the five cent…such a shame really. It used to be nice to have more coins to choose from. I’m not sure what other countries currencies have suffered the same fate??

  4. Tracey

    Hi Wanderer – Thanks for clarifying that point for me…poor old one and two cent pieces….I wonder if the five cent piece will also go the same way one of these days. It makes me feel old to remember when I could buy lollies for 1 and 2 cents….sometimes I miss those days…

  5. blueyes

    You know, that’s one of the reasons why I won’t leave feedback anymore is because the sellers wont do it until I do. That’s wrong. I have sold a few things and when I received payment I immediately post feedback to the buyer because they did their job…now it’s mine to satisfy their request in shipping the item promptly. What infuriates me even more is when they plaining have written I wont leave feedback until you leave some for me. Most of the time when I see that I’ll skip them to begin with because it’s like a bargining chip and last I checked ebay was buying/selling of goods.

  6. jan

    Good advice. It makes me so sad when a few people because of no morals or sense try to ruin things for everyone. I remember the beginning days of Ebay, but I guess we can never go back to innocence.

  7. Tracey

    Hi Blueyes – I completely agree with you about the leaving of feedback. I’ve sold on ebay as well and like you I believe that feedback should be left for the buyer once they have paid…the buyer should then leave feedback once they receive their item. It’s very sad that this practice is now a rarity.

    However looking at the other side of things I know how important it is to protect a good feedback rating (preferably 100%). Given that just one dodgy buyer can ruin a seller’s feedback rating by leaving negative feedback, I can see why a seller might want to wait for the positive feedback first. Of course just because I can see the alternative point of view, this doesn’t mean that I agree with it.

    Thanks for your comments.

  8. Tracey

    Hi Jan – If only we could all get along and trust eachother then ebay would be a much better place…but I guess this same wishful thinking applies to everything else in life as well. How I miss those great early days of ebay…

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