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Sun Feb 3 2008 17:47:45

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

By: David Steiner

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Can sellers leave feedback for buyers on Amazon? In perusing some of the forums, and speaking with sellers - even those that sell on both eBay and Amazon, we got decidedly mixed responses. I have to admit that we fueled a bit of the misconception ourselves when we published an article on January 24th, speculating what types of changes might be coming to eBay's feedback system, and included the following: "One user speculated eBay might take away sellers' ability to leave buyers feedback, similar to the system on Amazon.com."

Well apparently, that's not entirely true. Yes, Virginia, there IS a way to leave feedback for buyers on Amazon, as evidenced by this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=1161258

Leaving Amazon.com Feedback for Buyers
If you make a sale on our site, you can leave feedback for your buyer. Just click the Your Account button in the upper right corner of any Amazon.com Auctions or zShops page, then click through to your Seller Account. Once there, look under the Manage Your Orders section for access to items you've sold -- that's where you'll find links to leave feedback.

Now, I'm not saying that it's as obvious as a feedback left for a buyer on eBay. I've been a buyer on Amazon for years, and had no idea that I was being rated. But it is curious that there's a widespread notion that eBay's new policy, that does not allow negs or neutrals to be left for buyers, mirrors Amazon's. It doesn't.

In fact, the entire Amazon.com Feedback FAQ section is worth reading and indicates that while Amazon won't remove feedback, buyers can remove negative feedback for a seller, and sellers can modify comments they've left in response to a buyer's feedback.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=1161284&

Reading more from Amazon's seller help pages, I thought it was interesting how Amazon suggested that a seller get a negative feedback removed FROM a buyer:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=1161284&#remove

Amazon Marketplace buyers can remove feedback they have left. We would encourage you to contact your buyer, and work with them to resolve any issues regarding the transaction.

Amazon does make it clear that working it out with the buyer is preferable. And it says the only reason for leaving feedback for buyers is to help future sellers identify a difficult buyer:

Leave feedback on the buyer: You may leave feedback for the buyer. This option is less helpful than the above two. Most buyers do not read their feedback and Amazon does not use buyer feedback to evaluate buyers. This functionality may be useful if you want to help future sellers identify a difficult buyer.

What's probably news to many people, then, is that Amazon sellers can leave feedback for buyers, but buyers generally don't read their feedback, and Amazon doesn't use it either. So it still isn't like the eBay feedback system. But at least it lets sellers flag problem buyers for other sellers' knowledge. However, it seems to me that many sellers don't know about it!

I would really like to hear feedback from multi-channel sellers who sell on both eBay and Amazon: What is your experience with the Amazon feedback system? Does it work? Do you leave feedback for your buyers? Do you check buyers' feedback before transacting with them? Have you experienced feedback extortion on Amazon?




Comments (30) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: steve jay

Sun Feb 3 19:11:49 2008

1. Amazon feedback has the same problem as the eBay feedback system buyers that just leave bad feedback and never contact the seller for help.

2. Yes you can leave negative feedback for a buyer but it has no effect on there rating

We are also not sure if anybody else can see it.

3. Most buyers on Amazon have no feedback on there accounts only a handful of times have we seen a buyer with lets says 6 feedback most just say 0 I’m new

4 we had over 1000 thousand transaction on Amazon in Jan 2007 and only 108 feedbacks were left.

5. we send a out an email 30 days after the customers transaction asking if everything is all right and to contact us if it is not. There is a link to leave feedback in this email.  This is about your only hope to have a customer leave it. Feedback on Amazon falls into two groups good and bad you ether get 1 out of 5 or 5 out of 5.

The problem here is there is so little feedback left on Amazon.

What happens you get two customers that leave you 1 out of 5 and you set off amazon’s security because your feedback score took a nose dive because a buyer doesn’t contact you and never will.

The very first email we send to our customers has our full address, phone, and email address.

6.  Have you experienced feedback extortion on Amazon?

Yes in different forms most will write a nasty email demanding a refund and there not returning the product.

Others will say give me my money back or I’m filling a A to Z claim. Some will use the feedback line. Most of them are just trying to get free products using a combination of the above.

We see this week and week out. I believe this has to due with the A to Z program fueling this mentality. I also feel this will become more common on eBay now
 
7. Ether eBay or Amazon need to start a program ware the buyer has to contact the sell thru the there websites before they can leave negative feedback and give the seller time to respond and fix the issue.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Henrietta

Mon Feb 4 00:36:47 2008

That was VERY interesting, thanks!

Buyer feedback is only available to sellers so it doesn't affect buyer confidence.

I think the most appealing aspect of Amazon as a venue is that the chargeback risk is substantially less and the NPB is non-existent.

The fixed shipping in books is appealing to me as a customer.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: john iavarone

Mon Feb 4 05:08:07 2008

We would love to get back on Amazon, but over two years ago because of illness we were slow in shipping orders. Unlike eBay, half, albris, etc Amazon feedback is very one sided and once you are suspended it is FOREVER.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: R.L Hawkins

Mon Feb 4 06:53:40 2008

I leave feedback for buyers and sellers on Amazon all the time. I only have one return feedback from a seller, and it does show with my other feedback and is part of my overall rating.

I receive a few emails from my buyers. I believe that because I do send the buyers a shipping notification with a personal (cut and paste) message along with Amazon's canned response, if there is a question/problem, they will find a way to communicate with me (I hope). So far, no problems.

As a buyer on Amazon, I have noticed most sellers don't communicate with  buyers. I sometimes get a shipping notification that has no message other than what Amazon supplies. This weekend, after several years buying on Amazon, I received a tracking number for my purchase from a seller-- a first.

I think Amazon's feedback system seems not to matter to most buyers. In discussing Amazon's feedback system with several friends over recent months, most had ignored the percentages. None had ever checked a seller's feedback, and none had used feedback percentage as a reason to buy from one seller over another. On the other side of the coin, I had 2 buyers tell me over the Christmas buying season that they DID buy from me because of my excellent feedback rating and some of the recent glowing comments left by buyers.

However, as a longtime buyer/seller on both eBay, Amazon and some other online sites, I have grown accustomed to checking feedback and simply can't make myself buy from those with low ratings. This is severely limiting my choices on Amazon where many mega-sellers' feedback ratings (in categories I'm interested in) seem to average 93%. Even though I know their feedback is especially low because buyers often only leave feedback to complain, I am having a hard time setting feedback aside and trusting that Amazon will step in if I encounter a problem transaction.

I have not experienced feedback extortion of any kind on Amazon.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Harley

Mon Feb 4 07:28:34 2008

As a buyer on Amazon, I have noticed most sellers don't communicate with  buyers. I sometimes get a shipping notification that has no message other than what Amazon supplies. This weekend, after several years buying on Amazon, I received a tracking number for my purchase from a seller-- a first.

R.L. There is no need to bombard buyers with emails,some don't even use email. Must have been one of those eBay ebay seller converts you purchased from.
MY ACCOUNT>WHERE IS MY STUFF>TRACKING

My feedback ratio on the river runs about 6%. the customer service demand on Amazon is way less than eBay, profit is greater and the rare time that we come into contact with a customer it usually becomes a chance to shine.

I am afraid that eBay 2.0's feedback changes are going to cause us to do even less business on eBay. so far we have eliminated international shipping, required immediate payment and made paypal the only form of payment acceptable. eBay *was* unique and it's feedback system *was* it's strength, which made it the darling of the internet. I'm afraid JD and crew will realize once too late That feedback 1.0 is what made ebay

And Ina, you missed that you have 255 characters to respond to buyer feedback
on Amazon. He he... A seller can write a book and he gets the last word.

Looking at feedback left by buyers on Amazon for sellers you see some pretty stupid feedbacks left for sellers but generally they are decent people and you can get the issues resolved and feedback removed with relevant ease.

My net prediction is that business slows down on ebay and then who will the blame? I think JD missed the mark, we just have to wait to prove it. with a few keystrokes last night in response to feedback changes, ebay lost 75% of my business.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Alexia

Mon Feb 4 07:59:06 2008

The sellers and management alike have done everything they can to minimize customer contact. Automatic checkout, instant payments, hidden emails....eBay appears to be finished with the original vision of eBay, and that's just a shame. It really was the original social networking site.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Mary Ann

Mon Feb 4 09:10:40 2008

I would really like to hear feedback from multi-channel sellers who sell on both eBay and Amazon: What is your experience with the Amazon feedback system? Does it work?

No, it does not. It is too hard to find. There is no way to prompt buyers to leave feedback. Amazon regularly prompts buyers to leave product reviews, but does not remind them to leave feedback for Marketplace sellers. In over 30 sales on Amazon I have received 2 feedback ratings from buyers.

Do you leave feedback for your buyers?

Yes, always.

Do you check buyers' feedback before transacting with them?

There is not way to do this. My first introduction to a buyer is when I am notified that they bought something of mine. I have to ship to be in compliance with Amazon's terms.

Have you experienced feedback extortion on Amazon?

No.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Parrish

Mon Feb 4 10:28:55 2008

Henrietta

''I think the most appealing aspect of Amazon as a venue is that the chargeback risk is substantially less''

This might have been true 6 months ago, but since Amazon has changed its position on A-Z claims almost ALL A-Z claims are now charged back to the Seller.  The A-Z's  are now charged back even if you can show Delivery Confirmation with USPS DC.

Ina,  This would make a very interesting Blog subject. If you research the Amazon Seller boards you will see many many complaints about the  new A-Z system, they realy offer no protection for the Seller anymore, only to the Buyer.

Parrish


Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: RatherRuss

Mon Feb 4 11:46:37 2008

My experiences with Amazon were exactly as Steve Jay's.  No effort made by 99% of buyers to contact us before leaving a neg.  Those that did mostly complained about scratches on CD cases, rather than music...and since the sales were so low on the site anyhow, one neg a month, whether deserved or not, killed my ratings, pulled off immediately, as Amazon and Ebay still claim the buyer is theirs, penalize us, but expect us to do everything possible (beyond reason for the buyer).   When did America became the land of the lame?  I swear reading is a lost art...(click!) Rather Russ

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: steve jay

Mon Feb 4 13:35:04 2008

I would like to point out another major problem with the Amazon feedback system being left bad feedback is very very common for this.

Customers do not understand shipping times on Amazon they think Expedited shipping is overnight

Two days after the order 1 out of 5 is left

They pay about 8.00 for Expedited shipping in some categories

This could be very easily fixed by Amazon by changing the word Expedited to something else

Here is what the buyer fails to read on amazon’s site

Marketplace Shipping Time
Sellers agree to ship within 2 business days of your purchase.

Expected transit times for each shipping method are listed below
.
Standard U.S.: 4 to 14 business days after shipping (may take up to 21 business days)

Expedited U.S.: 2 to 6 business days after shipping

International Standard: 3 to 6 weeks ( may take 8 to 12 weeks due to customs delays)

Marketplace shipping times are not guaranteed and the actual performance varies by seller.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Lisa

Mon Feb 4 15:37:09 2008

To me, Amazon feedback doesn't really matter.  I don't give it, I don't get it.  I get notes from sellers practically begging me for it, but since I only really buy books, and I found the book on Amazon through a specific book search service, the only time I'd leave feedback was if I didn't get the book.  The nice thing about Amazon, is after you place the order, the seller confirms the item's availability and then contacts you directly.  There's no confusion.  But I don't take feedback on amazon personally or seriously.  I don't leave feedback for major suppliers, I don't consider Amazon that kind of site.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Rich

Mon Feb 4 18:09:12 2008

I purchase on Amazon a lot and have never had a bad experience.  To be honest, I never even check a sellers feedback before buying because I assumed that Amazon must have stricter rules for its sellers (may thats fantasy on my part).  I usually leave feedback for the seller but never knew they could leave feedback on me.  I searched the site and cannot find a way to see my own feedback (if I have any).  

The entire Amazon experience feels completely different on Amazon from eBay.  Maybe it is because all the prices are fixed.  Maybe it is because I have never seen scam products on Amazon that are obviously sellers trying to rip-off buyers (which exists on eBay).  eBay is still a little like shopping in the "Wild West."  

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Analiz

Mon Feb 4 22:42:52 2008

Ina, I respect you deeply, but you are not completely correct in your post.  I believe you are quoting outdated Amazon help pages.

First - ZShops no longer exist and auctions are dead.

Second - Sellers on Marketplace can leave feedback for buyers, that is correct.

Third - Sellers on Seller Central CANNOT leave feedback for buyers.  There is NO place in the Seller Central account for sellers to leave feedback.

When your readers are referring to not being able to leave feedback on Amazon, they are referring to Seller Central. This is where most full-time (other than media) sellers list.  Third party sellers who sell shoes, handbags, home decor, toys, tools, etc sell on Seller Central and cannot leave feedback for buyers.

Just wanted to clear this up for you and your readers.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: mark

Tue Feb 5 08:37:53 2008

Thanks for this info.  

As a fairly frequent buyer on Amazon, their entire seller feedback program appears almost invisible to me as a buyer.  That includes the ability to rate sellers as well as review their ratings.  In fact, your article is news to me, because I never knew as a buyer, I am being rated.  It sure would be nice to be able to view this info.  

Generally, when I've purchased something from Amazon, I received some type of automated email asking about my buying experience.  I never complete them because for one thing, it seems to me the survey arrives extremely long after I've purchased the product and forgotten about the experience.  

I guess I'm guilty as some have previously mentioned because I have left a negative feedback.  Although,  not via a seller survey; it was thru a direct email to Amazon.  This was a one time incident involving an extremely inflated shipping price.  It happened years ago and I think shipping on Amazon has probably been revised since then.  In this matter, I wrote Amazon directly & they referred the issue to the seller, who was very difficult to work with but in the end, relented & refunded the excess shipping to me via Amazon.

I recently began selling on ebay but was a buyer there for almost 7 years before.  I must admit that I bought more frequently from Amazon, because the entire buyer experience was easy & less complex than ebay.  Also, I often got a far better deal than ebay's auctions afforded and the ability to receive the purchase right away was attractive.  I was enticed to bid on ebay in anticipation of getting the item for less, but often that was not the case.

Although you did not ask for this, I'd like to comment anyway since I'm a newbie seller to ebay.  My short experience selling on ebay is not an overly exciting one and I'll only remain there for the time being, just to build up my traffic to an independent site.  In order to really win on ebay, either as a buyer of seller, one really needs to know the intracacies of the ebay system THOROUGHLY!!!  This is the sort of information that folks providing ebay training are not going to tell you because it makes you a potential competitor.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Osri

Wed Feb 6 12:11:58 2008

eBay is supposed to be different than Amazon and Target and Walmart and Best Buy and so forth.  eBay is supposed to be unique!  

Receiving negative feedback as a seller has always felt like a personal attack.   Sellers should not be held responsible when buyers don't read listings or decide they don't like the item after all or they think shipping charges are too high, etc, etc. Fair and honest feedback under the 5 Star DSR system would suffice just fine. Buyers are responsible for their purchasing decisions, but instead they just want to blame someone else for their decision.  

eBay should just do away with the negative/positive and just work with the 5 Star-DSR system.  There's no doubt that buyers will now be leaving a lot of retalitory feedback for sellers.

While its fine to have a philosophy that everyone is basically good, the problem with this is that it's basically not true.  Without boundaries, without consequences, people will do whatever they feel like doing.  

Part of the uniqueness of eBay is the excitement of feeling that you've won something or that you've found a bargain - taking all the risk out of it (no feedback for buyers) takes some of the fun out of it.  Misewell buy it at the store.  

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Affiliate Marketing Guide

Wed Feb 6 14:52:05 2008

I thought it was a BBC news item a few days ago that Ebay was withdrawing the feedback on buyers tool.
It is with relief that i read your article. Feedback on buyers is quite useful for those making a living on ebay. The risk to buyers of fraudulent sellers is very emphasized but the financial risk to sellers of fraudulent buyers is not highlighted nearly enough

Webmaster

http://www.affiliatemarketingintro.com

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Bradley

Sun May 4 23:38:27 2008

I've recently been selling on Amazon over the last 90 days or so. I can tell you that Amazon needs to work on the way Sellers CAN communicate with their buyers. For example as far as I know there are no ready templates or real order management features. Most sellers do not communicate shipping, etc to their buyers because its too difficult and manual to do so. You can email the buyer but you have to manually type your shipping notification. We usually just include the tracking number and thats it, however most buyers probably do not even know what it is, let alone which carrier we shipped with.

Also people expect things the day before they ordered it I find. Amazon allows a 2-day handling time for orders plus shipment time (small/light weight orders are usually sent US Mail).

What no one wants to talk about is how sellers in some categories sell below cost and make ''some'' profit on the shipping if they are selling small items. I do not like the way this works, however that is the way it is done currently in some categories, especially ink cartridges.

Buyers leave negative ratings for no reasons w/o contacting the sellers. Most people do not leave feedback which put our %'s out of wack. I'm thinking about just not selling on Amazon as the margins are very very low and buyers do not appreciate the prices compared to if you buy some place else online.

They want us to pay to ship items back to us as the seller and/or want a refund w/o returning anything. What really is weird to me is buyers will drive 10-30 miles to their local wal-mart to return something buy they do not expect to be paid for the gas that they incur when returning a product.

-Rant over! :)

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Steve-O

Mon May 26 15:55:53 2008

I am one of the few sellers who leaves buyer feedback. Separate buyer feedback is a good idea, even if buyers don't know about it. Sellers need an opportunity to grade their buyers in a forum that doesn't encourage feedback extortion.

I don't even care whether buyers receive negative/positive feedback. A simple 100 word comment describing the nature of the transaction can be very helpful.

Buyer feedback shouldn't affect their ability to do business. It should just give sellers an opportunity to warn others about rare cases of suspicious buyer behavior. Say a seller repeatedly uses feedback to extort a refund and then refuses to return a book.

So yeah, I leave feedback for buyers. One problem-I have no idea how to see buyer feedback.

PS-Leaving negative feedback for high shipping charges on Amazon is not cool. Amazon sets the shipping rates. Sellers do not.

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: TC

Sat Nov 1 11:24:44 2008

I had a terrible experience with a recent buyer on Amazon.com.  I started contacting Amazon support very early on about this transaction (I am more than happy to send out the communications I had with this buyer - they really are funny to read - just let me know.)

As many of you know, there are just some sellers that don't get it.  I do believe we, as sellers, have rights too.  Apparently Amazon does not agree.

Following is what the buyer posted:

''DO NOT ORDER FROM THIS 'SELLER' He is a 'THIEF' He will keep your monies, and NOT send the book as requested. I had to contact my bank to get my money returned. I also had to contact Amazon to get the matter resolved...I WILL NOT RECOMMEND....BUYERS BE WARE OF THIS PERSON(S).''

I contacted Amazon support regarding this and explained that what the buyer had posted was libelous.  They simply said that they could not do anything about it.  Any attorney's out there want to get a hold of this?  LOL!!

I sent the customer her book and included a delivery confirmation.  The delivery confirmation stated that the item was delivered.  At one point the customer said that she had returned it, then she said that she refused it, and as you can see above, she now says that she never received it.  I contacted Amazon support again and they said they had no record of her contacting them about this (as she says in her feedback).  Still, they would not remove it.  

I had perfect ratings and now because of a single buyer it is ruined.

Any others with experiences like this?

TC  

Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System   Misconceptions about Amazon's Feedback System

by: Daniel Hines

Sat Jan 3 16:18:21 2009

Amazons feedback system as all feedback systems are completely unfair to the seller. Has anyone had this problem with the order defect rate in the seller central system. They state they want this to be less than 1%. To get this number they add the negative feedback rate and the A-Z claim rate.

They claim the want you negative feedback rate to be less than 2.5 percent and the A-Z rate lest than 0.5 percent. So that means if you had those numbers your order defect rate would be 3 percent.

This is just about exactly what mine is and I am listed as having a ''POOR'' seller preformance score because of this. How does that make sense? My a-Z and negative feedback ratings are below where they should be but since these are what is used for the seller defect rate and added together I get a Poor Preformence rating. What don't they raise the Order defect rate expectation to 3 percent to match what the negative feedback rate and A-Z Rate would add up to.

I just don't understand this and it has gotten me more scrutiny from Amazon. Also only have about 80 feedbacks on those 600 orders. I have emailed people 3-4 times for feedback and they just won't leave it.

Most of the sellers are like the post by ''Lisa'' where she said ''the only time I'd leave feedback was if I didn't get the book.'' Buyers typically only leave feedback if something goes wrong. They don't contact you to ask what happened. Then they file a A-Z Claim and leave negative feedback. I have had this happen 2-3 times where orders disappeared after I shipped them. I have also had people file A-Z Claim where Delivery comfirmation proves it was delivered but Amazon doesn't care and refunds the order anyway. I don't think you could ever win a A-Z Claim.

I wish there were a site that was more seller friendly but they don't exist. The only thing you can do is start your own site and pay lots of money to try to get people there.

Dan

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