For several years now my wife has been selling a good amount of items via eBay. We have maintained a very good feedback rating with only a few negatives and some neutrals. Our policy has always been that we will do what we can to make you happy with the purchase. We offer insurance on items and if something goes wrong on our end we will gladly give you a complete refund.
There have been a few auctions in our past that were a bit on the strange side. It wasn't that the item for auction was weird but that the person on the other end was a bit off.
One of my first neutral feedbacks came from someone who used it to complain about a problem with the item. The problem had to do with the box for a game being slightly concave on top, probably from being in a pile of boxed games with smaller ones on top of it. I would have gladly offered a partial refund or something to the buyer but they left neutral feedback. If they had asked BEFORE leaving feedback (of any sort) we could have worked something out. Leaving feedback should always be the very last thing you do once an auction is complete.
My personal policy on leaving feedback is as follows:
1) The seller should leave feedback as soon as payment is received.
2) The buyer should leave feedback as soon as the product (as described) is delivered and any problems have been resolved.
2a) If the seller has not left feedback at this point then the buyer need not leave it as well.
In an on-line auction, once a seller has paid for a product there is no reason for the seller to withhold leaving feedback. The buyer's job is done once money is received. Any seller who holds feedback "hostage" should not be a seller you want to work with.
I once sent a game to a man via the USPS and it was about destroyed in transit! He sent me a digital image of what it looked like when it arrived and I gave him a complete 100% refund, shipping too. After that happened I told all of my buyers that they should purchase insurance in case the same problem befell them. I do not recall what sort of feedback he left but it was not negative.
Another time my wife listed a pair of boots on eBay and she got a question asking if the boots had been worn or not. She stated, correctly, that the boots had been tried on but never worn more than that. She figured it was just someone asking about the condition of the boots. She soon got a message back from the same person asking her, "If I win the auction, will you wear the boots for a few days before sending them to me?" WOW! That was out first exposure to the foot-fetish people on eBay. No, he did not win the auction.
My most disturbing eBay encounter involved a man a few states over from me who purchased 12 issues of Dragon Magazine. At the time I was listing them in yearly lots. After completing the auction he paid for insurance and we sent the items on their way. A few days later we got a hand written letter in the mail telling us how he wanted a refund as the magazines arrived in a damaged condition! What was real weird is that the letter had a very long religious opening and only two lines out of two pages had to do with the problem. We were nervous in dealing with this guy at this point.
When I wrote back to him I asked for some sort of proof of damage. Whenever there is a shipping/damage problem we always ask for proof. We also told him that because the parcel was insured (for double the auction amount) it was up to him to get the insurance money out of his local Post Office. He responded by telling us (after two pages of religious greetings and dialogue) how he had left the Post Office in disgust when the package arrived damaged and that he threw it away when he was there.
Well, between the lack of proof and the insurance we just blocked his email address (we were getting email AND letters from him) accepted that we would probably receive negative feedback from him and moved on.
We sell far more than we buy on eBay and we have been burned on a few auctions. Never a case of paying and never receiving but we did get burned once or twice on high shipping fees. When I see a shipping fee of $4.05 or $8.10 I expect the item to arrive in a flat rate USPS priority mail box. When I pay that rate and see it arrive in a 39 cent non-padded envelope I tend to get a bit angry!