The key to dealing with adverse feedback…

By Sharon Fussell, January 22, 2015

Today I’m going to talk to you about feedback. Most large online sites that provide a platform for third-party selling use a feedback system. It is supposed to provide ‘trust’ between buyer and seller.

Of course, most sites have a one-way feedback system where the buyer can leave a bad rating against the seller, but a seller cannot do the same against the buyer. At least, not with any meaning anyway (neutral feedback for example).

The key to dealing with adverse feedback...

The key to dealing with adverse feedback…

There is no doubt that some sellers perceive their businesses to be adversely affected by neutral/negative feedbacks, especially when this is unbalanced, as really it does not reflect the good service usually provided.

I have to admit, nowadays I don’t allow feedback to get me down: it is what it is.

But if I do happen to go onto my feedback platform and a customer has left a ‘bad’ comment that is, in my opinion, unjustified, I still feel aggrieved.

The problem is that some customers will leave feedback that reflects how they feel if they are discontented with their transaction.

But as I said, this can be hard if you perceive it to be unjust: there is not much you can do unless it breaks Amazon’s criteria for removal of feedback (see Amazon’s Seller Central for more). If buyers refuse to remove the comment, all you can do is live and learn.

Amazon does acknowledge that around 1% of customers have unrealistic expectations of purchasing used books, but all the same, unwarranted adverse feedback can be hard to accept.

Interestingly, I decided to research some comments left by customers of various sellers on Amazon…

Here a few choice comments submitted. In my opinion some are definitely unwarranted, but as you know, ‘there is none so queer as folk’.

Condition appears to be one of the main disappointments for customers. The problem here is that this can be quite subjective. Thus it is definitely better to err on the side of caution.


  • 1/5: The item is not as good as I expected.
Another disappointment is the length of time it takes to arrive. It’s always best to post quickly. That said, personally I rarely use first class postage, as I find second class is perfectly good: most items arrive just as fast, and you increase profits that way too.

  • 1/5: Said item ships from UK but have not yet received book: it does not take this long to ship one book within the UK. Do not believe what you read from this seller.
Another annoying adverse comment is when you are held responsible for matters which are totally beyond your control:

  • 3/5: I can’t rate this seller because Royal Mail are unable to cope with a snow fall after three days!!!
  • 2/5 No conversation for cooking temperatures, no exact measurement, so pretty much guess work.
Sometimes customers do not read comments and descriptions and thus you bear the brunt of any errors. Of course, it could well be the seller’s mistake: you would hope a customer contact you to explain before leaving feedback. That way at least you can try and rectify the situation.

  • 1/5: They sent me a photocopied book. Do not order from them, they will do the same to you.
  • 1/5: Item sent was book of mushrooms from Europe: very poor service.
  • 3/5: I did not realise this was a CD. I thought it was a book!
Although, it seems that even if you do try and put things right, customers can still leave adverse feedback…

  • 1/5: Book never arrived. Was kindly offered a refund and I really feel sorry for the seller as he was very helpful. Shame because I really wanted the book. Better luck next time.
One comment left recently was a complaint that there were leaflets within the packaging, which the buyer felt were ‘unhelpful’. I had recycled an Amazon box and left advertising leaflets enclosed, in case the customer would like to take advantage of the offers that were still within date… Apparently not, as she complained! Luckily, Amazon removed the comment – which surprised me.

So if you do have comments that are adverse, always try asking Amazon staff to remove it via your Seller Account: you never know.

However, what is especially annoying is when you receive adverse comments for GOOD service:


  • 1/5: Just as described. Condition excellent. Arrived well packaged and in good time.
  • 2/5: All expectations met. Many thanks.
  • 2/5: Great service, did exactly what I wanted it to do. Book very good condition.
I have included this eBay comment in a previous ezine, but in case you missed it, I have repeated it, as I find it so amusing… It refers to a sale of a DVD: ‘Can’t really comment, never got to use it, dog ate it!
TESTING TESTING

What do you think?

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