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Respond to Negative eBay Feedback without Making Things Worse

Published on Dec. 06, 2016

Last updated on Mar. 05, 2020
3 min read

Your eBay feedback score is the heart and soul of your business. Whenever someone leaves a bad review on your profile, it will ruin your day—and possibly much more. Knowing how to respond to negative feedback on eBay can stop that bad situation from becoming a disaster.

Last updated 3/5/2020.

How NOT to Respond to Negative eBay Feedback

Upset Baby

"I gave you my crayon! What more do you want?"

The worst thing you can possibly do is leave an angry response to bad feedback. If you do, you’ll tell your potential buyers that you lack professionalism and they can expect you to treat them like garbage. Imagine if you went to buy something on eBay and saw the following negative review on the seller’s account:

“The item never arrived. Avoid this seller.”

Now imagine the seller left the following reply:

“This buyer is a LIAR and a THIEF! I sent the item ON TIME! Don’t believe anything they say!”

Who would you trust more?

As an eBay seller, you might be more inclined to believe the seller because odds are you have been burned by a lying buyer this way. You may have even faced things as nasty as an eBay chargeback scam.

But look at this from the perspective of a buyer who only hears about sellers scamming buyers. To them, the buyer seems calm and reasonable. The seller’s personal attacks and obvious anger are completely unprofessional. Even if the seller is telling the truth, they won’t want to buy from him—what if he explodes like that every time someone needs to contact him for support?

At best, angry replies make you seem childish. There’s no way to read them without imagining a baby throwing a tantrum. At worst, they make you seem like the scammer.

How to Respond

Confident Support Agent

All responses to bad feedback should show the utmost professionalism. The only emotion that should come through, if any, is sincerity about an apology.

With an Apology

Here are some examples of one eBay Top Rated Seller responding to their tiny handful of negative feedbacks with sincere apologies:

Responding to Negative Feedback on eBay with an Apology

Visit this awesome seller on eBay.

Their consistency in responding to every negative comment with “We’re sorry, and we’ve sent you a message to offer a solution” really reassures me. Given the high number of positive reviews as well, it’s clear that this seller takes all complaints seriously and always responds positively when customers contact them.

With an Explanation

Another common way to respond is to simply explain what led to the negative review and how the situation could have been avoided by the customer. Here’s an example from another wonderful seller:

Seller's Explanation for Negative eBay Feedback

Clearly, this Top Rated Seller would have replaced the item with one that met the buyer’s expectations if they had contacted them first.

This works well on two levels: Firstly, it says the seller will take your complaints seriously and attempt to fix them. Secondly, it hints that you have to contact them before writing a negative review about them, and that if you go around smearing their name they won’t come crawling to you with a refund.

If you want to use that kind of strategy, you should make it clear this is part of your eBay returns procedure. It’s not quite as buyer-friendly as the apologize-and-make-up-for-it method used above, but it is reasonable and effective.

You can also simply tell the story of your attempts to solve the problem. You might say, for example, “I offered to give this buyer a full refund if they returned the item and they never responded.” Keep it factual and professional and you should come out smelling like a rose.

What about Not Responding at All?

Ignoring Problems

Quite a few sellers simply don’t respond to feedback at all. This sometimes works fine—plenty of buyers will simply look at your feedback and weigh the number of positive reviews against the number of negative ones. As long as you have largely positive reviews, things should turn out okay.

However, I have read stories of sellers getting two or three negative or neutral feedbacks in a row, then suddenly getting nothing but neutral or worse even when they made perfect deliveries. Responding to negative feedback can show buyers both that you are a human who is affected by that feedback and that you care enough to try to fix the problem. It should make them think twice before they join the dogpile.

Where Do I Go to Respond to Negative Feedback on eBay?

Just follow eBay’s simple instructions here to write your response. And remember, be professional!

Can I Get Rid of Negative Feedback?

Sometimes, yes! See "How to Change or Remove Feedback on eBay."

What Can I Do to Avoid Getting Negative Feedback in the First Place?

If you find yourself getting too much negative feedback, it could be because eBay messages take so long to reply to—or maybe your customer service emails just aren’t quite up to par.

Consider integrating eBay with a helpdesk. You’ll get a ton of awesome tools that make customer service easier and let you reply in record time!