Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Mar 8 2012 20:46:37

Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon takes customer feedback about sellers very seriously since it wants satisfied customers who will return to the marketplace and order more goods. But customers can be fickle, and sellers are sometimes left feedback they feel is unfair or unjustified.
 
Sellers are reporting that Amazon has not been removing feedback that are in violations of their policies. For example, Amazon used to remove negative feedback that was clearly meant as a product review rather than feedback on a seller's performance. But for the past few months, some sellers say it's impossible to get Amazon to remove what they consider unjustified feedback.

According to one EcommerceBytes reader, "We've submitted at least 25 feedbacks this month that are clearly product reviews and Amazon will not remove them despite their policy. They give a bogus reason every time but no feedbacks other than FBA issues are being removed."

Online bookseller Bob Willey, who writes about Amazon's fulfillment service on FBARocks.com, agreed that Amazon has become less flexible recently, especially with anything involving "price" - "they are very sensitive about over-pricing," he said.

Willey said sellers should not be wordy when making a feedback removal request on Amazon - "stick to the facts and briefly describe the policy violation. Otherwise, the rep (who is responsible for a certain volume of handling claims) will likely not read the request for removal, and just say NO."

He also said sellers should concentrate on the buyer. "Grovel, bend over backwards (NEVER mention removing feedback during this process), and THEN once the customer is happy or calmed down, and only then, ask the customer to consider removing the feedback, since it affects your business sales."

Amazon.com customers can remove feedback they have left within 60 days from the date the feedback is created. The company encourages sellers to work with buyers to resolve issues, but notes that "pressuring a buyer to remove feedback is a violation of our policies." (Translated, tread carefully!)



According to its Feedback FAQs, "How can I get feedback removed from my account," there are four situations in which Amazon will remove feedback, including when the entire feedback comment is regarding fulfillment or customer service for an order fulfilled by Amazon, or when the entire feedback comment is a product review.

"However, if the feedback comment is only partly a product review but ALSO contains feedback about the seller's service, such as "Seller's shipping service was very slow, and the Acme Super-Widget lacks the sharpness and speed of the Acme Ultra Widget," then the feedback would NOT be removed."

Amazon merchants who also sell on eBay are particularly sensitive to negative feedback. They also worry because far fewer buyers on Amazon leave feedback than on eBay, which can be frustrating to sellers who want all of their satisfied customers to share their positive experience so Amazon and potential shoppers can see it.

Sellers can respond to negative feedback left for them. Amazon advises, "When replying to negative feedback, explain your own side of things. Keep your comments brief and professional, even if the buyer comment is not courteous. Replying in a similar manner can backfire and reflect badly on you."

Feel free to share your feedback war stories in the comments!
 




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal   Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal

by: DonC This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Mar 9 00:38:46 2012

Our year or two of selling on Amazon was truly a strange experience. Our Amazon customer complaints and returns ran about three times those we experienced on eBay. Amazon customer service was every bit as bad or worse than eBay's.

I am not surprised that Amazon is ignoring requests to remove feedback. They ignore practically everything else.

Amazon is not the panacea some small sellers may be searching for.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
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Fri Mar 9 01:24:17 2012

Way back when, I was given 1 star on an item i shipped the same day but the USPS lost.  I sent a replacement that arrived 2 days later but the buyer left the one and also gave me a 1 on the other item she ordered even though it arrived promptly, was brand new and just what she wanted.  Killed my sales for a long time until I could get back up to 98.

Horrid system where the happy folks never bother and a 4 star actually is a negative when factored into overall average.  "everything perfect" then the dreaded 4 stars - buyer's reason.  "oh, I never give anybody a 5"

Perminate Link for Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal   Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal

by: julie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 9 09:59:00 2012

I've noticed this too... a few years ago having feedback removed (as long as it followed their rules) was easily removed. Now it's impossible. The few I've requested to be removed recently have been denied, even when they were clearly a product review.

We have thousands of 4 and 5's, so the few neutrals and negs don't hurt us overall. We always respond to the negs. But feedback is hard enough to get, and it's hardly fair that undeserved or when it's clearly Amazon's listing errors that cause confusion or when it's a product review, for that to be held against a seller.

I've also noticed a show shift in the Amazon customer base. Used to be returns were seldom, complaints were almost nil and easily resolved, orders were never cancelled. Selling was pretty much stress free.

Within the past 6 months, we've have more returns then ever before (reasons range from accidental order, didn't like the color, wrong size), more strange complaints and emails and every week at least 2 order cancellation requests within days of placing an order.

It's like where did all the nice Amazon customers go?

For strangeness... one lady ordered an item for her cat. Item was shipped, the next day she does a return request for ''missed estimated delivery date''. I closed that one since her item was shipped right away and the delivery date was not even here yet. She does another return request, ''Defective'' the same day... I closed that one as her item had not even been delivered yet! That was really strange... her item was delivered and we never heard anything more. (I think she was testing the new return method??)

I blame GreedBay for some of the changes within the Amazon customer base. They have encouraged bad behavior and unrealistic expectations.

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by: Quicksilver Messenger This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Mar 9 10:29:23 2012

Sounds as though Amazon wants to become-eBay!

Perminate Link for Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal   Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 9 11:34:01 2012

You know, I'm getting sick and tired of the feedback systems on both Amazon and Ebay and I'm talking as a buyer this time and not a seller!  I feel if the transaction is not good and the seller doesn't treat me right then I should complain and LOUDLY.  The transaction was either good or not good - I was either pleased or displeased.  I bought a LOT from Amazon last year and so far this year and its gotten so I wait for Amazon to prompt me before I both to even leave feedback.  I with both of these places would stop the childish feedback system!

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 9 11:35:49 2012

"Correction"  the above should read (before I bother to leave feedback) and (I wish both places would stop the childish feedback system).  Haven't had my coffee yet :-(

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by: SouthernSeller This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 9 19:56:42 2012

''Smooth Transaction.  Looking forward to doing business with you again.''

All the questions were answered ''Yes''

Feedback of 1 cannot be removed.

Why?

This is my livelihood - why Amazon do you wish to destroy it?

Perminate Link for Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal   Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
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Fri Mar 9 20:01:11 2012

Gotta say, I'm with Patricia.  As a buyer, I hate having to take a test every time I buy something.

Of course, as a seller, I love getting good feedback.

My experience with Amazon feedback removal:  I've had FB removal requests approved and I've had them rejected. Bob Willy gave good advice.  Keep the request short and to the point.  Don't make the rep read a novel about your personal experience.  Read the rules for FB removal and apply it directly to your situation.

My last request was approved, and the rating was made null.  It was a FBA item around Christmas, that the buyer did not receive.  Amazon let the comment visible, but did a strike-through on the ''3'' rating and added the following text: ''Message from Amazon: This item was fulfilled by Amazon, and we take responsibility for this fulfillment experience.''  

Perminate Link for Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal   Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Sat Mar 10 03:10:00 2012

''Grovel, bend over backwards'' is interesting advice.

Take out the comma, put in an ''and'', translate it into Latin and you have an impressive motto.

''Lacent et flectere super retro.''

Super retro! All the Boomers will want one.

Perminate Link for Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal   Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal

by: kumar This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 6 17:19:46 2012

Seller performance team at AMAZON function without applying commonsense to understand the reason for such feedback. In my case, a customer bought an item and I shipped it, the next day the buyer said that he do not want the item and asked me to cancel it and refund. Since the item already shipped, I told to return on its receipt. Buyer said that if the money is not refunded, he will write strong negative feedback about me. I had no other way, but to refund, after repeated request to return the item, the buyer not returned it. Means, he used the feedback system to extort product without paying for it. I know hundreds have similar experience like me..but unable to express.

Another instance is that a buyer bought an item. I tested it and sent in perfect condition, buyer got it removed the part from and put a defective part in this item and sent back to me saying that it is not working, I can see that it is tampered, but I had to refund to avoid his negative feedback.

There are many more instances in my selling experience with amazon and ebay. This is realy a problem in online business. But, it is important that there should be a provision to investigate buyer claim or atleast buyer's should not be allowed to give a negative feedback unless the seller given an opportunity to rectify/resolve the issue.

Perminate Link for Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal   Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal

by: This a joke, right? This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Mar 29 15:35:08 2013

Been selling on AZON since 2000 with almost 8000 feedback. I seldom if ever look at feedback. Have over 32K feedback on eBay. Don't look at that either.
Have NEVER asked for feedback to be removed from either site.
Sellers that obsess over feedback tend to go away rather quickly



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