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Understanding and Using Feedback

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  • What Do All Those Stars and Numbers Mean?
  • Reading Feedback Comments—And Contacting Other Users
  • How to Leave Feedback
  • Figuring Out What Kind of Feedback to Leave
  • Dealing with Negative Feedback

How do you know if the buyer or seller you're dealing with is legitimate—and will pay on time or ship in a timely fashion? The best way to check up on potential trading partners is to find out what your fellow eBayers think about them—which is pretty easy to do, thanks to eBay's feedback system.

What Do All Those Stars and Numbers Mean?

Next to every buyer and seller's name on eBay are a number and (more often than not) a colored star. (Figure 3.1 shows my personal star and feedback number.) This number and star represent that user's feedback rating. The larger the number, the better the feedback—and the more transactions that user has participated in.


Figure 3.1 Check the feedback rating next to a member's name.

How are feedback ratings calculated?

First, every new user starts with 0 points. (A clean slate!) For every positive feedback received, eBay adds 1 point to your feedback rating. For every negative feedback received, eBay subtracts 1 point. Neutral comments add 0 points to your rating.

Let's say you're a new user, starting with a 0 rating. On the first two items you buy, the sellers like the fact that you paid quickly and give you positive feedback. On the third transaction, however, you forgot to mail the check for a few weeks, and the seller left you negative feedback. After these three transactions, your feedback rating would be 1. (That's 0 + 1 + 1 – 1 = 1.)

If you build up a lot of positive feedback, you qualify for a star next to your name. Different colored stars represent different levels of positive feedback, as noted in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1. eBay Feedback Ratings



Yellow star


Blue star


Turquoise star


Purple star


Red star


Green star


Yellow shooting star


Turquoise shooting star


Purple shooting star


Red shooting star

100,000 or more

Obviously, heavy users can build up positive feedback faster than occasional users. If you're dealing with a shooting-star user (of any color), you know you're dealing with a trustworthy—and extremely busy!—eBay pro.

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