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May 17, 2010


Welcome to Part Two in this series.

If you haven't already done so, take a look at How To Buy On Ebay: Part 1 - Do Your Research

So you have decided to shop on eBay. In this post, we will look at the seller, rather than the item itself.

You will have already decided on an item to buy, and to buy that item on eBay. But what else do you need to look for?

  • Check the Seller's Feedback Number
    On the item page, the seller's details appear on the right. The seller's feedback number is the figure in brackets next to their name. This number represents the total number of positive feedbacks the seller has ever received for that ID, minus the number of any negative feedbacks. Neutral feedback does not increase or decrease this figure.
  • More on the Seller's Feedback Number
    If the seller's number is very high (in the tens of thousands), this could mean that they have been around for a very long time, or it means they sell a massive amount of items. One thing to look out for here is that a seller who sells many items per day. They might not have much time left over for customer service if you encounter a problem.
  • Seller's Feedback Percentage
    Below the seller ID is a "% Positive Feedback". You are looking for 100% here. This represents the number of positive feedbacks divided by the total number of feedbacks, for the past twelve months. 100% means that everyone who left feedback was happy with their transaction. 99.x% is also okay - because sometimes things go wrong. And sometimes you get buyers who feel they have to say something bad no matter what. I would only look at a buyer who has less than 99%, if I really want that item at that price. And then I would try to justify that their feedback rating is okay.
  • Recent Feedback Ratings
    These numbers show you for the past month, 6 months and 12 months, how the seller is doing. From this you can tell if the seller has time to treat you with care. For example, if their 1 month figure is 100 then they are selling on average 3 items per day, and your purchase should receive the care it deserves. Use your own judgement on what is a reasonable level.
  • Feedback Comments
    Have a read of the comments people have left for this eBayer. Check that you are looking at the "Feedback as a Seller" tab. Reading what others have had to say is your best recommendation.
  • Negative Feedback
    Most people stick to the "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" rule that Grandma taught us. So when someone leaves negative feedback, I take it seriously. Back at the top in the Recent Feedback Ratings box, if there is a number on the negative line, click on it. The comments listed lower on the page will change to be only the negative comments. Take it with a grain of salt. Some people think it is their duty to leave negatives all the time. Click on that buyer's feedback number and you are taken to their feedback page. Click on the "Feedback Left For Others" tab. Do they leave a lot of negatives? If they are a Serial Neg-er, I don't pay too much attention to their comment on the Seller I was looking at. Most sellers are horrified to receive a negative feedback and, even if they had done nothing wrong, they tend to go all out to make up for it in future sales.
  • Detailed Seller Ratings
    Unless your seller has a very low number in the brackets, make sure they have more than four stars in each category. Sellers are ranked by buyers after the transaction is complete. If a seller has a very low number of sales, any low ranking will be amplified. But a seller with many sales should have at least four stars in every category. If a particular category is ranked low, is that category important to you?
My next post in this series will give you some more tips on what to look for in a seller.

See also:
How To Buy On EBAY Pt.3 - More About Sellers

Do you have an eBay experience you'd like to share? Good or bad? Leave a COMMENT to this post.

Some interesting reading on this topic -
How to buy on ebay
Buy and Shopping Sately On-line
How To Buy Intelligently on eBay

See also : Vintage Cove Website | Vintage Cove on Facebook


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