eBay sellers to be banned from criticizing buyers

Online auction giant's move to ban seller feedback on customers is praised by buyers but criticized by sellers.

In a move to curtail retaliation by vengeful sellers in its feedback system, eBay plans to prohibit sellers from posting negative feedback about their customers.

Beginning in May, sellers will not be able to leave negative or even neutral comments about their customers, only positive feedback, said spokesman Usher Lieberman.

Sellers are crying foul, saying the policy change isn't fair.

But Lieberman says some sellers have been abusing the system, retaliating against customers who leave them negative feedback. And that has left many buyers afraid to leave honest comments, or even use the site, period, he says.

"The No. 1 reason buyers cited for decreasing or ceasing their activity on eBay was negative unwarranted retaliatory feedback they received from sellers," Lieberman says. "There has been a four-fold increase in this over the last several years. It's cited as a bigger problem than even not receiving shipment."

Meanwhile, eBay is offering more solutions to protect sellers when customers don't pay.

The move is the latest in a series of changes that involves how search results on the site will be displayed and recently announced fees for listing items.

For the record, I have nothing but good things to say about the person I bought a white embroidered linen shower curtain from last month on eBay.

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