Following the posting of my series How To Win A-z Claims, literally none of you have PMd me to ask if I could do a similar series on How to Get Bad Feedback Removed. With no one demanding a discussion of this important aspect of Amazon selling, how could I say no? And to whom would I say it?
Amazon documents four reasons that feedback can be removed:
- Personal information
- Product review
- FBA sale
But experience has shown that Amazon will remove feedback for a large variety of reasons. With a good appeal and some logic, and maybe a little humor, you can get a lot of feedback taken off that doesn’t meet the Big Four reasons. If this post does nothing else, I hope it will help to squelch the notion that only feedback falling under the Big Four reasons can be removed.
One reason missing from the Big Four but known to work is:
- Price objection
Sometime around June of 2013 Amazon became willing to remove feedbacks that relate solely due to price, such as “I found this cheaper at Wal-Mart” or “You charged me $50 but the box says $10”.
Let me mention here that it is important to ask customers to remove feedback, and I frequently do so – but not always. Sometimes, when it’s really an obvious win, I just go straight to Amazon.
As with A-z claim responses, I recommend keeping it brief. There also should be a call to action (“Please remove this feedback.”)
Below, in no particular order, are twenty successful feedback removal requests, with a little discussion on each. To be clear – I certainly do not have a 100% success rate in getting negative feedback removed; these are examples where I was successful.
In the below I describe some additional reasons that feedback can be removed. Those reasons are by no means 100% effective, but the success I’ve had will, I hope, demonstrate that feedbacks that don’t fall under the Big Five reasons can frequently be removed.
1: “This is a product review. Please remove it. Thanks.”
Not much to say about that one, and if you’re right it always works. Note the brevity. Reason #3, Product review.
2: “Customer’s negative comments are about the product, not us or our service. Please remove this. Thanks!”
In this feedback the customer had made a positive comment about us, while dissing the product. In the past this might have been a little difficult to get taken off, so I tried to make clear that the negative parts of the feedback were not related to us (and that this was, more or less, a product review). Reason #3, Product review.
3: “Customer states that delivery took too long to arrive. In fact we delivered in five business days, considering Christmas, and delivered the day BEFORE the start of the estimated delivery period – we delivered on 12/29, the estimated delivery period was something like 12/30-1/15. Would you please remove this? Thank you.”
Here we encounter our first example of a feedback that unquestionably does not fall under the Big Four (or Five) reasons for removal, yet it was removed. We’ll call this Reason number 6, “Demonstrably Untrue”.
4: “Customer’s complaint is that this item is in German. The catalog page says (German) at the top, and ‘Language: German’ in the details. We shipped the customer the item he ordered, which we are required to do. He is also using feedback as e-mail. Would you please remove this? Thanks!”
And here’s another new one – let’s call this number 7, the “We Did the Right Thing” defense. The catalog page said what the item was, and we shipped it. Not our fault, and removed.
5: “This is a combination product review and (mildly) price objection, both of which are removable. Please remove this feedback. Thanks!”
It doesn’t have to be one or the other to be removed. Just make a clear case. Reasons 3, Product review and 5, Price objection.
6: “We refunded this customer back in November. If you look at Buyer/Seller messaging you will see that she does not seem to be receiving our e-mails. That is obviously not our fault. Would you please remove this feedback, and e-mail the customer yourself to tell her that she was refunded two months ago? Thanks.”
Customer had complained (I guess . . . obviously the feedback is gone) that she had not received an item, when in fact she had been refunded long before. This falls under #7 “We Did the Right Thing,” and to some extent #6 “Demonstrably Untrue”.
7: “Item was delivered on the second business day of the delivery range. That is not “slow” by any reasonable standard. Would you please remove this? Thanks!”
Customer had called our delivery “slow”. Removed for being #6 “Demonstrably Untrue”.
8: “This is a price objection. Price objections are removable under your Standard Operating Procedure, so please remove this feedback. Thanks!”
I used to write a much longer diatribe about price objections, but this worked, so I’ll use the briefer version from now on. Reason #5, Price objection.
9: “This is a price objection. Buyer is complaining about restocking fees, which is a form of price objection, and has been removable many times in the past. Price objections are removable under your Standard Operating Procedure. Please remove this feedback. Thanks!”
Restocking fee complaints are price objections, and are therefore removable. Reason #5, Price objection.
10: “Customer’s complaints about delivery are due to her misunderstanding. She claims to have paid for faster shipping – she didn’t, and we don’t offer it. She claims she wasn’t told by Amazon when the item would arrive – of course she was. Finally she complains that the item took 22 days to arrive, which is true, but that is within the estimated delivery period for this item. Would you please remove this feedback? Thanks!”
Reason #6, Demonstrably untrue. Note that you can be really late (or in this case, USPS can) and still get a feedback removed if you delivered within the period. I’ll be honest and say I was a little surprised that this one was removed, but the customer was wrong in so many ways . . .
11: “This not feedback - as some customers who are clueless about Amazon do, the customer is using feedback as e-mail. We have e-mailed the customer to resolve the situation. Please remove this. (And please DON’T tell us that we can ask the customer to remove it . . . we have, but someone who doesn’t understand that feedback isn’t e-mail is not going to be able to remove a feedback.)”
Yes! New reason #8, Using Feedback As Email. This happens occasionally, we’ll get a “2” with “I would like to return this, as it is not what I want”. They can be removed.
12: “This is an APO shipment. The estimated delivery range for this order is Jan 12, 2015 to Feb 2, 2015, per Amazon. This customer ordered this item on December 14 and now leaves us a “1” saying that we did not deliver by Christmas. Ridiculous! Christmas is 2.5 weeks BEFORE the start of the estimated delivery range for this order! It’s not our fault that this buyer waited until December 14 to place her order. She’s blaming us for her error. Would you please remove this feedback? Thanks!”
Obviously I was a bit annoyed with this one . . . nonetheless, removed for Reason #6, Demonstrably Untrue.
13: “Customer stated in Buyer/Seller e-mails that he is himself an Amazon seller. Now he is leaving us a neutral. Competitive sellers should not be buying from us and leaving neutrals. Please remove this.”
Let’s call this reason #9, “Feedback from a Competitor”. Removed – but interestingly, the Amazon rep removed it saying that our “item was as described”. Call it Rep Discretion – if you can give them a good enough reason to remove it, and they agree with you, they will slide it through.
14: “This is the season for stupid feedback! Apparently this guy decided he should leave us a “1” because he’s not sure if his FREIGHT FORWARDER is going to get the item from Miami to South America. But that has nothing to do with us! This item shows as delivered on November 20 in Miami. We have nothing to do with any further movement of the item. Would you please remove this feedback? Thanks!”
This feedback had said something like “I’m not sure this is going to get to me in South America,” which is irrelevant to our part of the transaction. So that’s new reason #10, “Irrelevant Comment”. Also note that I made a point of hammering the Freight Forwarder angle. Removed.
15: “Customer gave us the wrong address, item hasn’t arrived, he’s given us a “1”. That’s ridiculous. It isn’t our fault that he gave the wrong address. Please remove this feedback.”
That’s Reason 7 popping up again, “We Did the Right Thing”. We have no choice but to ship to the address we are given, and the customer had admitted the address was wrong.
16: “Delivered on time and in perfect condition by the buyer’s own admission. She does not have the right to demand that it arrive even faster than what we all agreed to, and to damage our feedback with a “3” when it does not. We did what we said we would do. Would you please remove this? Thanks!”
Customer had said something like “I wish this had arrived faster”, which is not a reason for bad feedback. “We Did the Right Thing”, Reason #7, again.
17: “Customer canceled order, this is not our fault. This customer placed an order on Monday, then wrote in saying she had to have the item by Friday. We told her no, we can’t do that, Standard Shipping is all we offer and it’s 4-14 business days. She canceled the order per our suggestion. How do we now end up with a “1”? It’s not our fault that she bought from us knowing full well we don’t offer faster shipping, then wrote in and requested it anyway. We did exactly what we should have done – we advised the customer that we could not provide the service she was requesting, and explained how to cancel the order. We should not get a “1” feedback for not providing service that we never said we would provide in the first place, but that this customer apparently required. Would you please remove this? Thanks!”
Reason #7, “We Did the Right Thing”, one more time. No reason we should get a 1 for explaining to the customer that the shipping we offer would not meet her needs. My appeal was much too long, however.
18: “Customer states that the item had a tear on a page that she thinks happened during manufacturing. These items come to us shrinkwrapped, so it is impossible for us to look for torn pages, and she’s probably right that this is a product defect, making this a product review. Would you please remove it? Thank you.”
Reason #3, Product review. I believe this customer stated in the feedback that she felt we should have caught this problem with the product, so I explained that we couldn’t have.
19: “We shipped this item on Sep 24. On Sep 25 customer left this feedback saying “Book didn’t arrive - seller never shipped it”. We did ship it, the day before. In addition the delivery period for this order is Sep 26, 2014 to Oct 14, 2014, so he left this feedback saying the item “didn’t arrive” two days before the delivery period had even started! Would you please remove this feedback? Thanks!”
Reason #6, Demonstrably Untrue. It seems likely that this feedback was left for the wrong seller.
20: “It is not late. This customer is a dropshipper, who has ordered from us twice to ship to disparate customer locations. The estimated delivery range for this order is Sep 17 to Oct 2, so we aren’t even past the range yet, and it is going to be delivered today. It is therefore not “late”. Please stop abusive dropshippers from hurting our business and remove this feedback. Thanks.”
Customer had said our shipment was late. Reason #6 again, Demonstrably Untrue. If we’re not late, you can’t say we are.
In closing, here is my expanded list of reasons feedback may be removable:
- Personal information
- Product review
- FBA sale
- Price objection
- Demonstrably untrue
- We did the right thing
- Using feedback as email
- Feedback from a competitor
- Irrelevant comment