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Sellers must know the eBay's extortion policy

The main reason there is a feedback option on eBay is that it’s a wonderful way to make sure the sellers are providing a good customer service; in feedbacks, customers share their experiences with others. It helps other buyers know the authenticity of a product with someone else’s experience so that he doesn’t make the same mistake and moves on to find a seller with a good record. Every buyer does that and in such scenario, it becomes extremely important for the sellers to get a good feedback in order to increase sales and make their profit skyrocket. In case of eBay, every member’s feedback score is displayed next to their user ID, it becomes something that the seller cannot get rid of, it’s the reputation that sticks around and if the reputation is bad there is no escaping the wrath of a bad feedback.

Some knave customer understands the importance of feedback to the sellers and uses it to their advantage. Hence the term extortion, which means blackmail!

Let’s take an example of this seller from Chicago who sends a brand new video game CD to one of the buyers, where the packaging was done by a very reliable and trustworthy shipping company, but it turns out that according to the buyer, the CD were not new. He sends the photos of the CD where it is scratched and asks the seller to refund his amount, at this point the sellers politely requests the customer to return the defected item so that he can check it and reimburse the money. To which the buyer disagrees and asks the seller to let him keep the CD, as well as his money, should be reimbursed, otherwise he would write a bad feedback.

Here it is clearly indicated that the buyer is threatening the seller and blackmailing him, which is definitely a very unethical practice. Many eBay sellers face this situation on a day-to-day basis, the policy that eBay has formulated, eBay’s extortion policy forbids any buyer from asking for any kind of additional, goods, services, returns, or refunds over and above what is agreed upon in the original transaction that took place. But this doesn’t end here, neither are sellers allowed to ask buyers to leave a positive feedback in exchange of them shipping the item, shipping the item early, completing refund requests or providing monetary compensation of any sort, the only things that is allowed is for the sellers to ask the buyers is “leave a feedback at the end of the transaction”.

The policy states that:

In case of buyers, eBay does not allow them to blackmail the sellers using the feedback to their advantage, in a situation where buyer tries to blackmail the seller and asks him to provide:

  • Any sort of goods or services which were not initially agreed upon and not mentioned in the item’s description
  • A refund, replacement or any sort of return not covered by the original listing

In case of sellers, eBay does not allow them to ask the buyers to leave a positive feedback, or revise an existing feedback by offering them a number of things which is not limited to the given list:

  • In return of a full or partial refund
  • Shipping the item
  • Any sort of monetary compensation
  • Or any other item that is not mentioned in the sellers listing

Reporting suspected Feedback extortion:

eBay has explained it in simple words that it cannot accept any sort of report of feedback extortion which is received through emails outside of eBay, in this scenario it does not take the responsibility. It is highly recommended that any communication that takes place between buyer and seller should only be through My eBay messages.
Feedbacks are for the sole purpose of letting the members of eBay share their experiences with other members, be it buyers or sellers. Using it in a wrong way where one uses it to force other members to do things they aren't bound to do, is a misuse of Feedback, and eBay doesn’t support or allows this sort of extortion.