|Thu Mar 8 2012 20:46:37|
Amazon Gets Tougher on Feedback Removal
By: Ina Steiner
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!