Internet marketing resources, ecommerce web site design tutorials and  just for fun - free cell phone ringtones!
  Taming the Beast - quality web marketing and ecommerce development services

Auction feedback nightmare

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Friday August 11, 2006 )

Most of the online auction experiences I’ve had have been positive, although my most recent purchase was a little on the stinky side. Still, since there were some grey areas in regards to the transaction which I acknowledge, as miffed as I was with the merchant, I didn’t leave negative feedback. I was also offered a refund, which I refused; so as far as I’m concerned, the merchant fulfilled his obligation.

As someone involved with ecommerce at both ends of the spectrum, I know what kind of effect shooting from the hip can have and posting extremely negative feedback in a public area should only be done when there’s no doubt that the merchant is in the wrong and has failed to try to rectify the situation.

In your own online business, when potentially explosive issues arise, it’s important to deal with them quickly, but there is a line between providing good customer service and being a doormat. Unfortunately, sometimes when mud is slung, it can stick for a long time and you just need to cope with it and continue on regardless.

Learn more about dealing with difficult clients in an online environment.

Related:

Auction feedback scams

-->

Imagine having your online business reputation tarnished for an extensive period over the princely sum of 2 bucks.

It happened to one online trader, all because of negative auction feedback that was consequently proven in court to be unjust.

The story goes something like this:

– the merchant sold an item for $2.33
– the buyer wasn’t happy with the goods
– the merchant offered a refund
– the buyer wasn’t satisfied with the offer of a refund
– the buyer and posted particularly nasty feedback
– other buyers saw the feedback and backed away from purchasing other goods
– the merchant went to a small claims court
– the merchant and buyer settled
– both wrote letters to the auction site, requesting the feedback be removed
– the auction site refused to remove it
– another small claims suit against the buyer was made
– the court stated the feedback was defamatory
– merchant sent the auction site a copy of the court order
– an attorney for the auction stated there were “too many ambiguities” in the order
– the merchant filed a suit against the auction site
– the auction site was successful in having the case dismissed.
– a week later, the feedback was removed, but the damage was done

A $2.33 transaction, a disgruntled client and ouch! God bless America :). It’s not clear whether the merchant in question is still trading via the auction site, but the SiliconValley.com article states that most of his business is now conducted in person.

I guess there’s two sides to every story, but it just goes to show that cranky clients can cause major headaches. What they’ll cause problems over can sometimes seem very trivial, but it always needs to be taken seriously; and even if you do give the issue your undivided attention, it doesn’t always turn out rosy.

The online business environment has a tendency to see regular occurrences of a phenomenon similar to “Dutch courage” – no offense intended to any Dutch readers :). It’s term for the bravery and brashness that some people show after having a few drinks which they usually wouldn’t display when sober :).

Imagine someone buying a cheap item from a bricks and mortar store, being unhappy with the goods, being offered a refund, refusing it and then standing out the front of the store yelling “this store is crooked!”. Security or the police would be called immediately :).

But that’s effectively what this buyer did.

Most of the online auction experiences I’ve had have been positive, although my most recent purchase was a little on the stinky side. Still, since there were some grey areas in regards to the transaction which I acknowledge, as miffed as I was with the merchant, I didn’t leave negative feedback. I was also offered a refund, which I refused; so as far as I’m concerned, the merchant fulfilled his obligation.

As someone involved with ecommerce at both ends of the spectrum, I know what kind of effect shooting from the hip can have and posting extremely negative feedback in a public area should only be done when there’s no doubt that the merchant is in the wrong and has failed to try to rectify the situation.

In your own online business, when potentially explosive issues arise, it’s important to deal with them quickly, but there is a line between providing good customer service and being a doormat. Unfortunately, sometimes when mud is slung, it can stick for a long time and you just need to cope with it and continue on regardless.

Learn more about dealing with difficult clients in an online environment.

Related:

Auction feedback scams



 

 
Comments for Auction feedback nightmare

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.