eBay moral dilemma

hey folks,

so here's the back story - I bought 10 GU10 LEDs from an ebay buyer (which was local NSW) and 99.6% rating. Shipping and everything went well but when I installed these LEDs - two burnt within 1st hour at different and tripped the circuits with smoke coming out of them. I immediately took all of them out and saw that the wire inside was burnt in both (probably cheap quality).

moving forward, I contacted the seller and told him this happened and this product is dangerous and I would like to return it. He happily accepted return and a refund after a big delay of communication and me going to PayPal and launching a refund request etc…

Late yesterday, I was completing feedback for all my purchases and gave him a negative in quality. Now the seller is up in arms with me that why did I leave negative feedback since the product was returned. He has offered me to return me shipping money (about $10) if I can remove my -ve feedback (not sure if you can do that ?).

here's my moral dilemma - I know the product is bad and can burn someone's house but on the other hand , we did cancel the purchase + $10 :-\

curious to know what are other ppl's thought on this ?


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  • +56

    Well you need to make a decision to take the bribe or not.

    I would leave negative feedback and include the fact that he tried to bribe you to hide the defective nature of his products.

    Hilarity will surely ensue.

    • lol - but I'm sure he will leave me -ve feedback as well but it would be fun for sure :-)

      • +54

        Sellers can't leave negative feedback

        • +3

          Indeed, sellers can't leave negative feedback any longer
          I miss the days where a seller could, as there are some moron buyers out there who commit to buy then never pay etc, but I can understand why the got rid of it (sellers refusing to leave positive feedback until they got it themselves).

  • +21

    Yeah leave the neg and report him to eBay. It's against their terms to try and bribe people to remove negs.

    • +2

      I did not know this.

    • Can you remove negs, I was sure they cant be removed?

      • A seller gets a limited number of times per month or something they can trigger a special eBay event that requests a neg be removed/changed. They usually make sure the buyer has agreed though before hand, as the limited number is for requests, not actual changes. So if a buyer wants to be really nasty you just say you agree, and then when the eBay request comes through you reject it and they've wasted it.

      • Negatives and neutrals can be revised, but the defect remains.

        If a seller gets agreement by a buyer (in ebay messages) to have feedback removed completely, everything goes. Rating, comment and defect.

        • As a side note, someone on here purchased off me (on 2 separate occasions), left good feedback but hit my DSR's (obviously on purpose). I asked them why, no response,

      • you need a court order or something like that to get ebay removed the neg feedback. I saw one racist neg feedback and ebay didn't remove it even if that as per their policy.

        • Yes, that is the case if the buyer does not agree to the removal.

  • +18

    I once bought something eBay specifically advertised to work with my car that didn't. They offered a 30% refund, conditional on me providing positive feedback. I declined, and then they replied to my feedback saying that I never contacted them. Five emails, three of which were replied to, seem to indicate otherwise.

    I reported the seller ceedlim for this behaviour which was in breach of eBay terms. In your case I feel the that perhaps negative feedback is a little harsh.

    I would have left neutral feedback, as the materials were shonky, but they have made a decent effort to reimburse you for all but your time. Neutral feedback warns others that the purchase process might not be 100% seamless, but also acknowledges the effort the seller made, which is getting rarer and rarer on eBay.

    • +9

      I agree. I'd leave neutral. They let you return the product without a fuss so it doesn't deserve a neg (which to me is for where the seller is a tool or you don't receive the item etc). But you do need to warn people about the quality.

    • Can I ask, what would you do if they refused to give you a refund if the product wasn't as described and you wanted to return it and only responded to you when you took it to ebay?
      Would you leave -ve feedback then? They only did it to cover their behind

      • +1

        I'm not sure if you're responding to me or to the OP. If they made no effort to rectify the situation after money changed hands I'd probably neg them. My own personal code is that neutral = bad situation with good faith, neg = bad situation and evasiveness.

        • +1

          I was responding to you :) and okay, that makes sense then. I'd have said you were too nice if you put neutral for them too if they were "forced" to do the right thing.

        • +1

          I like this personal code. But judging between good faith and evasiveness can be tricky. (Perhaps the seller had a legitimate excuse for not responding promptly, such as being hospitalised unexpectedly).

          To avoid the tricky part, I rely on the seller's previous feedback. If other buyers have had similar problems - neg. If seller's feedback shows no similar problems, then benefit of the doubt results in a neutral.

    • +1

      I have also had a terrible time with ceedlim and heartily endorse the negative feedback for him/her.

  • +1

    only $10? ecclestone paid $100m to end his trial. accept nothing less than $20. or perhaps $30.

    • +2

      WTF dude!

      • -5

        c'mon. it's free money. op should link the item so that we all can get some. it's the ozbargain way.

  • +2

    If I had to be tough on them I'd give them a neutral feedback.

    What was the price of the item compared to what you'd pay for at Bunnings? If it was significantly cheaper you should know what to expect from these.

    I'd only be upset if I paid almost equivalent to an in-store price and expected proper quality. If only paying a few dollars I know the risk I'm taking and can't really get upset if it's cheap quality. For electrical devices/components it's worth paying a little bit more to avoid getting yourself into these situations.

    • +3

      Being much cheaper than bunnings is not a guarantee of a bad product. In some cases, bunnings prices are hideous (think upto 10x what you'll pay elsewhere). I bought 1000 zinc alum roofing screws with rubber grommets for $30 - the bunnings equivalent was about $200. My builder pointed these out to me - and he's used that supplier for years. Or when I bought some roof flashing. Bunnings price was about 8x what I paid elsewhere. I got bhp zinc alum at the other place - so I'd beg to differ about quality differences.

      It is reasonable that someone selling a product should choose their product carefully and stand by it.

    • +1

      I'd leave neutral too and a comment about what happened. eg: "Poor quality LEDs (dangerous), seller refunded promptly"

      I did something similar to this over a dodgy item I bought and then had other ebayers contacting me asking for more information (I don't think you can contact buyers now). So it did have the effect, to some extent, of warning others.

    • +1

      If you buy something cheap and it fails then you take your losses. If you buy something cheap and it is a potential safety hazard then it's less clear cut.

  • +7

    I am with you OP. Leave negative feedback about the product, not about the transaction. I am sure most people would not buy these lights if there was a risk that their house could burn down, no matter how cheap they are.

    • I am sure most people would not buy these lights if there was a risk that their house could burn down, no matter how cheap they are.

      True, but it seems a little harsh to punish just one seller for a rampant issue on eBay. I don't buy memory cards there because there is an unacceptable risk they'll be fake, and to be honest, I think the OP should be hardly surprised by cheap LEDs if they paid peanuts for them.* wouldn't buy LEDs for AC-connected uses off eBay.

      `* this is possibly not the case if the $10 was a genuine shipping charge, and not the now-useless dodgy eBay strategy of avoiding fees by pumping postage costs. [edit - just saw it was a local purchase. Probably disregard this point.]

  • +3

    I'll leave neutral feedback, highlight good transaction but products were of bad quality

    • +1

      They werent just "bad quality" they were dangerous and possibly/probably illegal. The neg is certainly warrented in this situation, future customers have the right to be made aware of the danger of buying (especially as the seller seems to not care too much)

      • not when it's a private reseller, your just being a keyboard warrior, there are enough schmoofties on eBay leaving unwarranted and frivolous neg feedback as it is without encouraging more to be as flippant…

  • You need to invest in good quality brand for GU10 bulb, like Philips.

    Avoid the no name bulbs for your safety.

  • I would have given Neutral feedback at worst, refund provided

  • +1

    You did the right thing - at least in the context of helping vigilant buyers who check seller feedback.

    Potential safety issues aside with other cheap LED's that operate via mains plug-in, anybody (like you, OP), in the market for cheap GU10's might care to read this comment I posted recently.

  • +1

    Cost cutting in china for commodities like copper has lead to many deaths world wide. From USB chargers to the power leads for many goods sold and shipped. Alas the cost of buying from Bunnings new leads, plugs and adaptors and DYI solutions adds another level of concern too.

    I bought a cheap home studio camera setup off ebay from china and the leads has only a few, thin strands of copper in them (I was going to just change the plugs until i saw how bad it was)

    Upon testing, the leads on 240v got extremely hot, so i had to ditch them as they were dangerous!

    I say do the right thing, leave your feedback if it was honest (you don't get much space to comment anyway) and hope the seller gets better stock! He can advertise its better to negate the feedback

  • +5

    Neg him, product is defective/unsafe

  • +5

    If the product is defective but the Seller has refunded. Then the Seller is a good guy, but the product is bad. As feedback is on the Seller, he should have got a good feedback with a mention that the product is poor quality.

    • good point

    • So what happens if he decides to keep selling them

      • Yes, good point. I myself always look at only the negative feedback to see if it relates to the product I'm wanting to purchase, which means that I would miss seeing the problem with the product. I take it back. Best to leave a non-scathing negative feedback that highlights a good seller but bad product.

  • +3

    I very much like the fact the OP has not only recognised there is a potential moral dilemma here, but was sufficiently concerned to post about it. Very well done OP.

  • -1

    I would leave positive feedback with comment that item was defective but seller refunded. Can't say all his items are defective given 1 poor batch

    • +1

      But no one ever reads positive feedback.

  • +2

    As a seller, the moment the case is opened, I do not even care about a +ve or -ve feedback from that person. Due to eBays new update, a refund is automatically a defect for cases like this. So once I've got a point for a defect it can't count again for a neatral or negative so really whats the point in pursuing to remove a negative/neautral when that defect point is still going to count regardless for refunding.

    • -1

      Because when you're a power seller on ebay. Negative feedback and lower than 4 star average will wqcause a limitation to how much you will be allowed to sell.
      If your business runs off a profit of a few cents per item. And negative feedback results in ebay limiting your sales. You will do anything to avoid frivolous negs.

      • Once the case is opened for item not as described etc… then its done. The point against you has already been deducted, so therefore a negative & neutral will do nothing because its already the same thing and won't count again. If a seller is trying to avoid negative feedback or defects or whatever, the seller should be trying to prevent this before it even comes up anyways.

  • +1

    You shouldn't leave negative feedback. Seller seemed to have tried to resolve it. I suggest you withdraw the negtive feedback.

    • i reckon it's a bit of an iffy situation.

      on one hand, the product was poor quality and potentially dangerous. sure, a refund was given and the issue resolved - but the process should not be necessary to begin with.

      on the other hand, you get sellers that are complete asses and wont refund you or even reply to you. when a seller does the right thing (refunding), negative feedback is a bit discouraging.

      to be honest, i would simply leave a neutral feedback. the product was poor, but the seller was good.
      ive been in many situations like this with buying cheap chinese things (LEDs and the like), a lot of the time theyre no good. and when i contact the sellers they give me refunds without any hassles. i know theres a good risk involved with buying their crap, but I chose to take that chance. i dont leave negative feedback in those cases

      • Seller did the right thing - eventually. Buyers shouldn't have to have messages go unanswered and be forced to open a paypal case before the seller bothers to respond. You don't rate the seller solely on the outcome, but also on whether you had to drag the seller kicking and screaming to that outcome.

  • +4

    Leave it negative, there are thousands and thousands of these guys dumping the cheap chinese garbage on ebay, you see pages and pages of them with any search, they have like 99.2% good feedback (or close to 100% good feedback), then when you go deeper, you find it is actually like 17000 good feedback and 3000 bad feedback, often with "product never arrived" or "garbage , threw it in the bin".
    They also very often lie about the product being in australia (ends up arriving 3 weeks later from hong kong)

    Long story short, these guys know they are selling knockoff gear, know it isn't certified here, say it is anyway, and keep on truckin.

    Don't buy cheap chinese garbage when it comes to mains powered gear for use in australia, you just cannot know if it is safe or not. (some of the stuff will even have safety and australian certified stickers on the box or device itself, yes they are faking both, when checked, the certification they use is for a completely different product or counterfeit)

    (disclaimer: I test the electrical safety of devices for a living.)

    • +1

      If someone's house burns down and their kids die and you hear that it was a dodgy GU10 that caught fire, would you feel better for leaving positive feedback?

      (profanity) the $10. I'd be more interested in reporting them for selling devices that could kill someone.

  • You may leave a positive feedback (his sincerity to solve the problem, and refunded the money to you), and put a short comment while leaving the feedback.

  • +2

    Don't accept the bribe. How else are other users supposed to know that the quality is questionable. If the seller doesn't want negative reviews then the onus is on him to provide 100% quality product, not just import what ever cheap crap he can and make a buck out of it.

  • +1

    If everyone left negs's for dodgy products like this and sd cards etc, then surely the only ones left on ebay would be those selling good/genuine products?

    • +1

      That would be the ideal, but just take a look at some of the sellers ebay promote. Horrendous feedback!

      When dealing with ebay, money talks. That overrides ebay's claim that they want buyers to have a positive experience.

      ebay claims no one gets preferential rates and treatment, that isn't true.

  • I have a similar dilemma… I bought a iPad Stylus for $0.70c. Yes that's right 70 cents. Long story short it doesn't work…

    Longer story
    When I checked the sellers feedback it was about 99% so I went ahead. Fast forward a week I get the stylus and attempt to use it on my iPad it doesn't work, so I checked the buyers feedback again and sure enough it had dropped from 99% to about 97%. Having looked into it further I realise someone had bought the exact same product and left neg feedback with a similar issue annoyingly several hours after I paid…

    My dilemma is… The seller has asked me to not leave neg feedback so I haven't so far. However I realised today he is still selling the same dodgy product and claiming it works on a iPad screen when it bloody doesn't. The seller has been rather reasonable with communication and offered me a refund so I am not sure leaving neg feedback is the right thing to do…

    I am not too fussed about the refund cost but more preventing others from thinking it will actually work.

    So should I
    1) leave neg feedback citing the issue and move on.

    2) leave positive feedback citing 'fast shipping and helpful when there is a issue'

    3) neutral feedback saying 'fast shipping, helpful seller but the product doesn't work'

    I'm leaning to number 3 personally but I am interested to see what the OzB community thinks.
    Thoughts ?

    • +2

      If you think back to when you purchased:

      When I checked the sellers feedback it was about 99% so I went ahead
      I realise someone had bought the exact same product and left neg feedback with a similar issue annoyingly several hours after I paid

      How helpful would it have been if people had left honest feedback?

      The seller has asked me to not leave neg feedback so I haven't so far

      This is why you don't see negatives and warning flags before you purchase. People could do the right thing by the community, but instead take the selfish option.

    • +1

      Definitely 3, but your comment needs to be more specific to be extra helpful to the eBay community.

      For example, your comment should vary depending on whether you're the first, second, third or tenth person to find that particular product does not work.

      It's not unreasonable to cite "I'm now the 3rd buyer to find this item useless." THAT's the kind of comment I'm looking for when I check a seller's feedback before buying something.

    • -1

      You're really getting that worked up over 70 cents, even after the seller has been reasonable and offered you a refund?

      • +1

        leave neutral feedback - "product did not work at all. seller refunded"

  • If a seller wants to avoid negative feedback, all it usually takes is to respond promptly to any problems rather than ignore the buyer and force them to open a case. There is definitely an argument that the seller's stupidity in refusing to respond to the seller's concerns initially has brought the neg on themselves.

    There's a really simple rule I follow when choosing between neutral and neg.

    All eBayers eventually make mistakes - and neutral feedback is the appropriate response for that. Some sellers are just plain stupid - these deserve negs to help them realise the error of their ways.

    I tend to choose between neutral and neg depending on whether I'm an isolated case, or whether the seller has pulled the same kind of bullshit before on other buyers. THAT nuance is exactly what the feedback system is supposed to highlight.

    • Well he has replied and is happy to give me a refund (not that I am too fused about 70 cents but that's not the point).

      If he does give me a refund should I leave him positive feedback, given he resolved the issue and gave me my money back? Or still neutral given the product actually doesn't work?

      • +1

        if you didn't have to argue or send the item back (leaving you out of pocket), neutral. If he's made you chase him up or waste your time or money, neg.

        A positive experience is you buy an item, it arrives within a reasonable time, and it works as described. Anything else is neutral at best.

        I always leave honest, factual and unemotive comments, too.

        eg: "seller is a crook!! avoid!!" is not something I would write. I'd write something more like "item was defective and seller refused to acknowledge responsibility, had to resort to paypal dispute".

      • I agree it's a toss-up. To be completely honest, I don't think anybody bothers to read positive feedback. When I'm deciding whether to buy from a seller, I review the neutral and negative only rather than wade through potentially thousands of feedbacks.

        If your higher aim is to serve the eBay community, then it needs to be neutral feedback. If you genuinely feel happier inside by leaving positive feedback, then do that. I tend to review all the neutral/negative feedback before leaving my own feedback, to decide how high or low a seller sits on the arsehole scale, and then let that be my guide when deciding what feedback to leave.

        When we read feedback, write feedback, or when we create or post in threads like this, ultimately most of us are looking for a consensus. What would the majority of people do in this situation? If you've actually asked that question before letting rip, then your conscience should be clear no matter what course you decide on. No-one can ask more of you than that. You're trying to do what's fair, and everyone has a slightly different interpretation of what fair is.

  • +6

    I don't think negative is fair given that the seller resolved the issue, could just be a bad batch or something out of his control. Neutral feedback would be more fair.

    • Yeh what I was thinking more of.

  • +1

    I got this reply after leaving bad feedback for a item i never received.

    "I can understand that this may not have been a satisfying purchase for you so please accept $30 compensation credit as our way of apologizing for the poor service you have received.

    If you are happy to accept this, it would mean a lot to us if you would consider revising your Feedback Score to a positive one and leaving us with a 5-Star Seller Rating in light of our active attempt to resolve the matter for you to the best of our ability."

    The bars been set at $30 credit

    • +1

      Not bar. Bribe.

      • Lol, not really a bribe if you look at it.
        Its like going to a restaurant and eating there, then complaining to them and they give you a $30 voucher for next time so they can right a wrong…

        Is that called bribing?

        • If you write a restaurant review that is negative, and then the restaurant offers you a $30 voucher IF you agree to alter the original restaurant review, then yes, it's a bribe.

          You've ignored the seller's request to alter the feedback, but I also acknowledge that the seller hasn't made acceptance of the $30 absolutely conditional on revising the feedback. But it's certainly implied.

  • people are starting a new threat for the smallest unimportant things lol, leaving ebay feedback :/
    inb4: dude product was defective could have burned his house down and killed him.
    thats not the issue, asking if I should leave neg or positive feedback. first world problem..

  • +2

    How much did you pay for the led lights?

    It really annoys me when people pay $1 Inc postage for some El cheapo item. Then have an outcry when it breaks or doesnt work after a while and decide to blame the seller.

    I don't know the details of the sale. But I hope what you purchased were adr approved and from an aus seller with warranty if you were expecting not have a safety issue.

    If people decide to pay sub standard prices, expect sub standard products.
    You got a refund, a negative feedback on an account and anything other than 5 stars seriously affects a sellers account and can stop them from selling effectively as feedback can limit the amount they are allowed to sell.

    People need to think carefully before leaving frivolous negative feedback for sellers.

    • +1

      I'm sorry, but no. The amount paid doesn't give sellers the option to supply rubbish that doesn't work. That's what the law means when it says a purchase must be "fit for the purpose".

      The buyer isn't Step 1 in this process. The seller is Step 1 when he/she decides to list the item. The buyer purchases in good faith assuming the product will work as described. What you're describing is that the seller should be able to decide whether a piece of feedback is frivolous or not. Wrong. The buyer gets to decide what is frivolous and what isn't.

      The poster has sought other people's opinions here to aid him in making an ethical decision - I think that's a pretty clear indication that he IS thinking carefully before leaving frivolous feedback. Ultimately, whether in this case it's frivolous or not is for HIM to decide.

      As for the seller in Step 1, if they don't ever want to risk getting negative feedback, then perhaps the seller should stop listing dubious crap for sale.

      • +1

        Well it depends on what you think the feedback system means.

        For me, Feedback on eBay means "The performance of the seller", therefore if they did everything and refunded everything, then for me it is a positive feedback since they did good.

        Its not really a product review sorta function. You may have gotten a bad batch, doesn't mean all of them are bad. I've gotten Philips Bulbs from Bunnings before and had 2 of them die within 1 week. One actually blew up…. Yea bad luck bad batch.

        He isn't bribing you, he is just trying to make your shopping experience more pleasurable. e.g. why are you pissed off at him?

        Usually what people would assume that the feedback system actually is a feedback of the seller not their products.

        Even eBay says this:
        Leaving honest comments gives members a good idea of what to expect when dealing with other members. Leaving Feedback is also a way to express your appreciation for a job well done. Finally, if you are a buyer, you can help spread the word about a seller you like, and if you are a seller, you can help recognise and reward loyal customers, which encourages them to buy from you again.

        Read this page:

        • You make some very good points. As I mentioned higher up in this thread, deciding between positive, neutral and neg can be a toss-up. They all have pros and cons. If you leave positive feedback with a critical comment, you're virtually assured no-one will ever bother reading it, so it's effectively useless for helping the eBay community.

          If it's a bad batch, then a responsible seller wouldn't try to sell the remainder of the batch. Any seller that does, and ends up disadvantaging multiple buyers, is really begging for a neutral or a neg.

          A responsible buyer decides what feedback to leave not only from his own personal point of view, but takes into account the seller's other feedback to see if the problems encountered are isolated or systemic.

        • @woz: I agree with choosing the "better" type of feedback.
          In the case of the OP, a Neutral comment would be correct.

          For me a neutral comment means "The seller was great however the product wasn't so much"

          So I would word the comment like "Seller happily refunded the item, however item was lower quality".

        • @lplau:

          I'm not sure that feedback adequately takes into account the tardy response and positive resolution ONLY after going to lodging a dispute.

          OP: "He happily accepted return and a refund after a big delay of communication and me going to PayPal and launching a refund request."

          If a seller has to be forced to a resolution - then that's far from ideal conduct by the seller. Combined with a bad product, it's escalates to a neg, or at best, a far more critical comment accompanying a neutral is warranted.

  • I had a different problem where the item never arrived. They refunded it and apologised but wanted positive feedback.

    I decided to just leave it, got my money and they obliged, after a few messages.

  • +1

    lol its just a stupid online feedback, as if youd take that over some free cash

  • OP, on eBay, you neg a seller, not the product. The decision to purchase 'that product' (because it was cheap, whatever, etc) was always your sole decision. No point make the seller's life hard… why not be more meticulous in the future (or head to a ship)

    I you don't like a product, review it where you can… than just simply neg sellers!

  • +1


    Listing a shoddy product was always the seller's sole decision. Has the seller removed the remainder of these products from sale, or is the seller going to try to con more buyers?

    If the seller was truly concerned about bad feedback, he wouldn't have forced the OP to open a paypal case in the first place by failing to respond to messages for a lengthy period of time.

    In this case, the seller brought the neg on himself when it could easily have been avoided with a prompt response.

    Feedback is there for a multitude of reasons - it is the buyer's prerogative to decide what other potential buyer's need to be warned about.

  • +2

    Dodgy Product = Negative feedback.

    If we all leave feedback that was positive, it ends up meaning nothing and cannot be used as a guide. I would leave -ve feedback and comment that you were offered a $10 bribe (how tight is that seller).

  • in the grand scheme of things - no one really cares as he's a small time ebay seller…. just get your money - do whats best for you so that you are not out of pocket. get the money first and then give him his positive feedback and move on with your life… you won't save the world by agonising over this 1 sale…

    life is too short to worry about cheap china imports…

    then if you really want - report his product to the ACCC :)

  • The bribing thing aside,…

    I don't think it was reasonable for you to leave the neg review. You have the choice to purchase good quality product at high price or to purchase shit product at low price (take the chance), in another words, you should not neg a deal because the product the bad, you neg it maybe because the product is over priced (shitty product high price), description misleading, service is bad, etc. Your case was not any of these.

    I've bought lots of low quality products, knowingly, just because they are cheap and I don't care about the quality of certain things. It suits my needs.

    In term of the safety, it is not you to say. These product has to be certified by certain authority, no?

    I would leave a positive/neutral review with words like: item is not good quality, look somewhere else if you want good quality ones. but I guess the price is OK.

    • Buyer messages concerns to seller. Seller ignores messages. Buyer forced to open paypal dispute for refund. Only THEN does seller make an effort to do the right thing.

      How is this good service? If you give a seller an opportunity to resolve the issue, they refuse, and you're forced to drag the seller through the dispute process to get an outcome, then they deserve a neg.

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