RISC World

Know your buyer

The value of finding out about the people you sell to

Buying and selling on eBay is an extremely popular way to shop for many Internet users, but still has a certain stigma attached to it that may concern new users.

This is perfectly normal, considering you don't actually know the person you're selling to or buying from. You may be concerned that either they won't pay up, or they won't send you the product you've bought. eBay has addressed these problems and put certain systems in place in order to help you should this occur, but in the meantime there are some things you can do to help reduce the chances of problems cropping up.

Like large chain stores that build reputations by establishing a name and basing much of their marketing on customer satisfaction and word of mouth, eBay has a similar process to help you judge the buyer or seller.

Based on other user experiences and comments, you and all other eBay users have the opportunity to rate the people that buy from you and sell to you based on how they behave, whether they have accurately described the product and how quickly the sale or purchase was made.

Over time, these reputations can be built up and eBay users are allocated a star rating based on the quality of their service. You receive (or lose) points for positive and negative comments, and eventually are allocated a coloured star to reflect the quality of service you offer. There's also a 'Feedback Forum', where you can read comments written on different eBayers by those that have taken part in a transaction with them.

This will not only help you judge other people, but also provide you with feedback on your own activities, so you know what you've done right or wrong. Experienced eBay users take these ratings very seriously, and you'll find you are far more likely to get additional bids for items you put up for sale if you are rated well by others.

Once you've established yourself on the site, you can also create a list of pre-approved buyers, people you've dealt with before, people with good reputations or those you know and trust. Those not on the list must email you for permission to bid, which allows you to find out a bit about them first and may help reduce the chances of problems later.

Here, we're going to give you an overview of how the feedback service works on eBay. Over the next few issues, we'll be looking more in-depth at how auction sites in general use the feedback system, and how you can get it working to your advantage when it comes to selling your wares online.

The Importance of Feedback

01: Feedback Forum - Users logging into eBay commonly check the 'Feedback Forum' to find out what people have said about them and how their reputation is holding up. This is available at the bottom of any page ' scroll down and click on the link.

02: Feedback information - This page gives you some more information about the 'Feedback Forum', and you'll see links for either replying to current feedback or leaving new feedback. You can also view your member profile from here, to see how you're getting on.

03: User Information - If you're viewing the forum or replying to feedback you've received, you'll see that each username is highlighted as a link. You can click on a name to find out more information about the user, including feedback and star ratings.

04: User feedback - You'll now see a list of feedback for this user, which you can scroll through to see what their service has been like. As we're looking to get to know our buyer, click the 'From Sellers' link to see how other people rate their service.

05: Profile information - The 'Member Profile' at the top of the page has summary information on the member's feedback from other users, summarising the positive and negative feedback and splitting the comments into recent and long-term responses.

06: Favourite sellers - If this information has convinced you that this person is someone you'd be happy selling to, you can add them to your 'Favourites' list by clicking the link on the right, or contact the member for more information by clicking on the button provided.

David Bradforth