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eBay gets negative feedback about ban on negative feedback

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Online tat-house eBay has enraged some of its regular users by banning negative feedback about buyers and a demand that anyone flogging more than a certain amount from the UK must register as a business.

So called "PowerSellers" will be targeted first and must register business accounts by the end of the month. eBay will also be emailing anyone with "high levels of sales" not registered as a business. eBay is not saying how high this level is, but it will be determined by the number of items sold in the last three months and by gross merchandise volume.

The changes have angered some users, because there is no way to remain a PowerSeller unless you register a business account.

This requires sellers to provide a physical address, to inform customers that they are a business and to offer a cooling-off period if selling items at a fixed price. The changes are required by European Union ecommerce law.

Some sellers are worried by the security implications of showing their address on eBay's View Item page, so eBay is increasing options by giving a wider choice of pages where the address can be displayed. But it warns users that business sellers must display a proper address - not a PO Box.

Feedback is changing too. From May sellers will not be able to leave negative or neutral comments about buyers. The changes are designed to make life easier for sellers. Negative feedback can have a major impact on sales on eBay. It can also spark retaliation, with both buyers and sellers leaving tit-for-tat negative comments if a sale goes wrong.

eBay is also closing its eBay Express service which offered fixed price items for sale. The company said the decision was based on buyer and seller feedback. ®

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