Fair Outcomes strives for fair eBay settlements

    May 15, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Disputes between buyers and sellers over e-commerce transactions need not end up as a court battle, if the parties opt to give the Fair Reputations System a try.

Is it worth ten bucks to hammer out a disagreeable transaction with another party? It could be for eBay users, as its controversial feedback changes take effect on Monday, with non-PowerSeller rated sellers feeling hung out to dry.

eBay has not embraced the approach Fair Outcomes wants to offer to those making a transaction that goes wrong in the buyer’s eyes. AuctionBytes noted how the process works: a seller pays $10 and invites an unhappy buyer to use Fair Outcomes to try and find a solution to their dispute.

The Fair Reputations system works in a four-step process:

You deposit a confidential settlement offer (X) into the System. This allows you to “issue an invitation.”

The invitation lets the other party confidentially use the System to learn if X equals or exceeds some value (Y) that it deems acceptable. If it does, the matter settles for X. If not, the invitation allows Y to be revised up to a fixed deadline.

If the matter is not settled by the deadline, then the invitation allows the other party to opt to have an impartial arbitrator determine which is fairer: X or Y. You would be bound by the result.

You receive a certificate that shows your use of the System and the results of that use.

By offering this kind of dispute resolution, a seller demonstrates a willingness to settle a matter fairly at the outset. However, to be an appealing alternative for eBay clients, Fair Outcomes needs to be embraced by eBay in a way that presents its results to other eBay users.

Considering eBay’s pending feedback changes, that doesn’t seem likely to happen, at least not right away. If there’s a $10 fee to be collected for this kind of process, you know eBay will want some or all of that.