Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Nov 7 2015 11:22:55

Has Amazon Found a New Way to Torture Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon has found a new way to torture sellers, at least that's how it feels to some merchants who noted new performance metrics in their dashboards this week. The new metrics came as an unwelcome surprise to merchants, since Amazon hadn't given any advance warning.

Most of the complaints about the metrics centered around a new "Negative Return Feedback Rate," which is part of the "Return Dissatisfaction Rate" metric designed to measure customer satisfaction with how their returns are processed.

Amazon sends customers a survey when they request a return - a seller posted a copy of the email on the discussion boards:

Hello,
We see that you recently requested a return for your Marketplace order XXXXXXXXXXXXX: https://www.amazon.com/returns/order/XXXXXXXXXXX

Did the seller resolve your issue? 

If yes, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=AGG&k=hy

If no, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=AGG&k=hn

(We'll share this feedback with the seller to help them improve their service in the future.)

Sellers are already feeling pressure as the holiday season kicks in, and dealing with returns is difficult enough as it is, especially with regard to holiday shoppers looking for gifts for others.

Is it unreasonable for Amazon to want to know how sellers handle return requests? Or is the real issue how Amazon is attempting to measure sellers' performance in handling returns?

If you were surprised by the new metrics, which also includes a new "Customer Service Dissatisfaction Rate" (the percentage of customers who are not satisfied with a seller's responses in Buyer-Seller Messaging), let us know what you think.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Has Amazon Found a New Way to Torture Sellers?   Has Amazon Found a New Way to Torture Sellers?

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 7 11:28:43 2015

Unbelievable

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by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 7 12:32:17 2015

not surprised one bit, just wait until they start rating you on cardboard thickness, or packing tape stickiness, it will only get worst, not better

Save your sanity , take control over your business, sell on your own platform, it's the best option.

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by: Sonny Young This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 7 12:45:55 2015

eBay, Amazon FBA, Etsy, etc. were originally designed to be a venue for sellers to run their businesses. It is fascinating to observe how these ''venues'' slowly insert themselves into a seller's operations. It's a pattern we see over and over. Sellers eventually become quasi-employees with no rights, and paying for the privileged to be abused. To add insult to injury, listing pages are plastered with advertisements and lower prices to go elsewhere.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Nov 7 15:19:12 2015

eCrater eCrater eCrater! In the nine years I've been selling there, I've never been told what to sell, what to charge, what payment method to accept, what return policy I should have, nor have I been subjected to any of the other silly rules that eBay and Amazon force on its sellers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Beanie

Sat Nov 7 16:19:02 2015

@ Sonny Young, You are spot on with that comment! @ Iheartjacksparrow, I don't sell on Ecrater, but I like to go see what is offered from time to time. Trouble is, they usually don't have the particular thing I want. If only they would do some advertising and attract more sellers, they might become VERY popular and finish off Evilbay. It sounds like a TRUE venue from what you've said.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Nov 7 16:38:41 2015

I echo iheartjacksparrow: eCrater, eCrater, eCrater.

YOU run your business on eCrater.

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 7 19:31:28 2015

Here's the bottom line for feeBay, The River, et al: YOU are no longer the seller; the "venue" is. They demand that YOU make them look perfect to the buyer. They believe they OWN that buyer. He's THEIR customer, not yours. You have to bend over and take whatever abuse is heaped on you. It's your JOB. You work for the venue. You THOUGHT you were an independent agent, simply using a SERVICE to advertise your merchandise to the buying public? Sorry, Bunky; you got that dead wrong.

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sat Nov 7 19:50:30 2015

We as Amazon sellers are already forced to accept returns per the A to Z Guarantee. Not to mention the bogus claims of ''Where's My Stuff?'', where, if a package is not signed for, a refund must be issued, even if tracking shows an item was delivered.

Now this. Why and how can Amazon expect perfection from their sellers when their ''Warehouse Deals'' Marketplace account has 88% positive feedback on over 2 million transactions? Running a Marketplace business even half this poorly would get any other third party seller on the River permanently suspended.....

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 8 00:34:08 2015

It's just terribly unhelpful - unhappy buyers can file an A-Z or leave feedback, this is just unnecessary. Fortunately, none of my returns bothered to answer the survey, however, 1 general questions did and left a negative (due to amazon CSR laziness to pass this question on to me and buyer inability to understand how amazon works)causes dissatisfied metric and no credit for the other questions in the time period covered that did not answer so presumably happy. Completely useless stats.

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by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 8 03:37:00 2015


These venues technically call you the ''Customer''  but absolutely Nothing they do, even remotely comes close to a normal business customer relationship, you have been simply reduced to an ID in a database that they harvest money from.

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by: Toy Boy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 8 08:55:14 2015

And mind you, all this is to judge 3rd party sellers, not Amazon itself, they exclude themselves from that feedback and its consequences.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sun Nov 8 09:51:27 2015

This has lead me to add to the packing sheet I send with Amazon orders that what I sell is not returnable except for my error. I'm not about to lose money, shipping costs, etc. just because someone used their boss's credit card and want the charge to 'disappear', especially since it will show up anyhow and then the refund will as well (actual reason for a return request but of course the official reason that they checked I believe was not as described). Nor do I think I should accept returns on something a person bought and then once they get it decide that they are too busy to make it and so want their money back, or a return request coming in over 2 months after shipping (which except for the holidays Amazon won't even accept returns that late).  Buck it up folks and do like every other sewer does, stuff that pattern in with the rest of the ones that you have bought and haven't used and once you have enough, start your own business selling them online. Amazon needs some other return/refund request reasons that what they have so that it would become clearer that over and over the requests are generally for customer changed their mind. Yes, you can do that at a B&M, but you wouldn't expect the B&M to refund your shipping coming and going, etc. I don't know if they have changed their policy, but even stores like Joann Fabrics never accept returns on sewing patterns. So I'm telling them flat out and it IS part of my terms of service on Amazon that I don't accept returns.

I also sell on eCRATER and several of us sellers are trying to pressure the eCRATER team (in a nice way) to get rid of the deadwood stores and bad sellers and improve upon the advertising of this venue, which still is a venue. ECRATER's biggest problems other than sellers that come and open stores and desert them and those that don't fulfill their orders, has been the changes that happens every time Google makes big changes to its algorithm. With Caffeine and Panda my sales immediately went down, the same day that those changes took effect. When I first started on eCRATER many of us thought that eCRATER and Google were working hand in hand and then suddenly it was like a divorce and eCRATER became a single parent trying to support their children when Google was doing everything it could prevent children's visits to eCRATER. We need NEW and GOOD sellers on eCRATER. If you can't find something on it, it tells me that there is still room for lots more good sellers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Nov 8 10:52:08 2015

Can some one PLEASE make an American Market / Shop site for American PATRIOTS ONLY (no global) that allows for Old Fashioned transactions (Postal Money Orders & checks), unfiltered communications between buyers & sellers , and "To each store its OWN policies" (zero interference from the host site).
The site fee shall not exceed 2% per transaction. NO subscription fee. NO take of any portion of shipping.
THIS WOULD BE THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS GIFT   :o)

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This user has validated their user name. by: FEEbay

Sun Nov 8 12:15:55 2015

We were canned on Amazon 14 months ago for Seller Performance (we self fulfill, and are in a difficult category), and while I probably could have written the appeal letter, basically kissing their asses and outlining a "plan of action", I decided not to. Best move I have ever made in 16 years of E-Commerce. We plan on "firing" Ebay next. I agree with the first poster on here... The ONLY way to have a longterm business online in 2015, AND save your sanity is to sell on your own platform. It is difficult, and it takes time and money, but it is well worth it. Good Luck!

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Nov 8 12:25:57 2015

@The End - You are, for the most part, describing eCrater. You can accept checks and money orders (as well as PayPal and Stripe). All communications between buyer and seller is exclusively between those parties. When you open an eCrater store, you set whatever policies you wish. With eCrater, you pay 2.9% of the selling price (postage is not included in the total) ONLY if you want greater exposure in Google Shopping, and ONLY if the sale originates through eCrater's home page. Stores are always free, no matter how many items you have in your store (I'm approaching 7,000 items). And as mentioned, they don't include postage as part of the total of the sale. Merry Christmas!

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Nov 8 13:51:22 2015

@The End

No business can survive on 2% fees!

Profit on 2% would be less then 1%

It's NEVER going to happen. . .

I was thinking of a business model of charging .50 per listing with no other fees. Auction or fixed price.

That would eliminate most of the cheap chinese junk and non wanted items.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Nov 8 15:04:40 2015

Thanks to Amazon's increasingly avaricious policies, ebafia is handled yet another opportunity on a silver platter o re capture disenchanted and angry Amazons sellers.

All ebafia needs to do is to make buyer fraud a lot more difficult, protect sellers more, return to Ending Soonest, and actively recruit former sellers.

Ebafia management, however, is too short sighted and timid so the platform will continue to fail.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Nov 8 20:23:00 2015

@ iheartjacksparrow
Hhmmm....I'll Try It   :o)

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by: debranator This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 9 01:04:49 2015

to moon wishes..with that attitude you will not be on amazon much longer..you CANNOT make up your own return policies.
and a true good seller follows what she agrees to when she joins a marketplace as that is what buyers expect.they do not expect a note in their packages telling them some hogwash about buyers remorse.
as for the question...
amazon is trying to do more than micro manage and it is getting insane.but, no matter what...I sell more on amazon in a day than i do on all the other sites put together.their rules may stink..but the money is good and i follow the money.
so..I follow the rules.

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by: handmedownheaven This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Nov 9 01:07:41 2015

None of these selling platforms are designed to benefit the small seller.  They are so a major corporation can make money.  Save yourselves ALOT of hassle and get your own website.  Market it yourself and you will learn why not to mess with these sales platforms anymore.  When we were shafted by feebay after 12 years of 100% feedback, we didn't know what to do.  Took the plunge & got our own website.  It was slow in the beginning but now our sales are as good as they were on feebay.  Total cost for a website & domain name was $162 for an entire year.  Visit our site and remember, that was done by a person who had never designed a website before.  If we can do it, so can you

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