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Have sites like Ebay and Amazon killed customer satisfaction/feedback?

It occurred to me that this new era of interweb purchasing, through sites such as Ebay and Amazon are effectively killing normal lines of customer feedback and complaints. For example:

I bought some auto parts for a brake job I had to get done at the weekend. I purchased them from a well-known distributor. On the Sunday, when I came to do the job, I discovered a simple part supplied in the kit was too long and couldn't be used. This was very annoying since I had to drive around various shops to find replacement, delaying the time I had to finish the job, by Monday morning. I left some negative feedback and was promptly asked why I hadn't contacted them to resolve the issue. "What can you do on Sunday afternoon, when you are 300 miles away"? I was given all kinds of excuses, like I needed to provide a VIN number (which the Ebay site doesn't ask etc. Needless to say, I am banned from buying again from this supplier.

Just this past few weeks, I spent $1000 on some equipment and discover that a key part of what I ordered is 2 inches too short. Instead of getting the longer components - which is what was specifically mentioned on Amazon, I got the standard items. It took nearly the whole day for the supplier to contact me, after I filled out a supplier contact form on Amazon's website (Amazon don't get involved in this case) and all they wanted to know was "what markings are a) on the parts and b) on the boxes?" I called and said, huh? The boxes have long gone. Turns out, the supplier couldn't actually tell, since I'd bought through Amazon, what I'd purchased and had sent the wrong parts. I was even "threatened" that I'd have to pay EXTRA. Happily, although I now have MORE work to replace these parts, I am getting replacements. No once did the agent apologize for their error.

Similarly, I bought a coffee machine which only lasted 5 actual operations and Amazon told me I can't return it and now I can't leave any feedback about the product...

I'd like to leave some negative feedback, based on this experience, but fear the same kind of "blocking" because customer feedback is very public these days...

Whatever happened to customer service? Are sites like Ebay and Amazon killing ways to provide feedback, because it's so public?


Looking for Reality
Whatever happened to customer service?
That died when computers starting answering phones...and not many people <50 complained about it...totally done deal now...
Caveat Emptor...

Took me months to get my phone lines straightened out for my business...I now pay more than I need to since better deals have become available, but I'm terrified of letting them change anything...I'd rather pay more than be shut down for months.

Lands End...only truly robust customer service I've seen in the last decade...and they ran away from Sears before it crashed...


Captain Nice
Staff member
Whatever happened to customer service? Are sites like Ebay and Amazon killing ways to provide feedback, because it's so public?
There's always the Twitter thing if you want to complain.

Realistically, at almost 70 I have seen so many great experiences and god awful experiences over my life that I could hardly begin to list them. As to complaining, the internet has made it easier for anyone to complain about anything. @Ninja cited Lands End. I have lots of clothes from them - Probably several thousand US$ worth. Was great, as was, for example, LL Bean, but both have gone down hill.

Ebay and Amazon have guarantees - Use them. I have on Amazon with good results, never used Ebay for anything (long time junk reputation).

There have been so many goods and bads throughout my life that it would take a Domesday size book to list them all from my life time.

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Without a question, they need to be certified to ISO 20488:2018 -
Online consumer reviews — Principles and requirements for their collection, moderation and publication

Online review sites offer consumers the chance to give feedback about their experience of using products and services, for the benefit of other consumers who might be considering buying or using them, as well as valuable feedback for the suppliers that provide the products and services.
A vast number of consumer transactions and interactions now take place via the internet, and millions of consumers each year read and write online reviews. The rapid growth of consumer review sites, covering a wide range of products (e.g. clothes, electrical appliances, toys, cars) and services (e.g. restaurants, hotels, builders, plumbers, electricians, lawyers), has the potential to empower consumers and drive industry improvements, by creating a more dynamic way to exchange information. Not only are suppliers asking for consumer reviews, consumers are talking back, and talking to each other.
Review sites can benefit consumers, making it easier to research products and services, and identify those that best suit their needs in terms of function, price, quality and value for money. They allow consumers to share information about their experiences, and to seek feedback and opinions from thousands of other users. Online reviews can also be a valuable resource for suppliers, helping them to meet the needs and expectations of their customers. Consumers with personal experience of using their products or services can help to identify areas of improvement leading to better quality products, better systems, procedures and customer service. Smart suppliers understand that proactively encouraging user reviews, and responding quickly and positively to feedback, can help them to keep customers and win new ones.
As online reviews are increasingly influential to consumers’ purchasing decisions, it is vital to both consumers and suppliers that sites are managed effectively to build confidence in the quality, integrity, accuracy and transparency of reviews. Both consumers and suppliers have reported some problems with online reviews. These problems might be intentional or unintentional, but can lead to a degradation of trust in the online review process. Some problems reported include:
  • false positive reviews written by the supplier itself intending to mislead consumers;
  • false negative reviews written by a supplier’s competitors intending to ward off consumers from the organization;
  • the activity of businesses specialized in “online reputation management” who offer e-commerce companies services to improve their online reviews;
  • consumers using their newfound position of public critic and in effect obtaining better circumstances or other benefits from a supplier that they review;
  • a lack of trust concerning the veracity of consumers’ reviews, and whether organizations select the better reviews, and remove the negative ones;
  • suppliers that use consumers to write positive reviews or penalize them for writing negative reviews, in some cases contracting consumers out of the right to write a negative review.
These issues form the basis for the principles in this document that are designed to resolve them.
This document offers requirements to organizations that manage consumer review sites, detailing good practice throughout the process, from collection to moderation and to publication. It gives recommendations in order to increase consumer trust in online consumer reviews, increase the protection of suppliers from exploitation and mischief, and improve the purchase decisions of consumers and the quality of products and services provided by organizations.
Organizations that choose to follow this document can be considered to be demonstrating that they value their customers and are committed to providing reviews that consumers can trust.


Quite Involved in Discussions
Sorry to hear you had a couple of really bad experiences there Andy. I do some shopping on Amazon and have not run into any bad experiences with bad/incorrect product yet. They even replaced some items that where stolen of my porch once. And I do very frequently get surveys from the selling company itself by e-mail to give feedback.
But I am also good at letting a company know on twitter (if they are on Twitter) about their excellent or bad service/product etc. This has worked in a few instances of getting a discount on the next order or replacement, even a service technician visit at my convenience and earlier - not on their time schedule. If the company has a social media account and they care, they will fix it. The old addage " Word of mouth" is still true in most cases. Good luck!
and they care, they will fix it.
This seems to me to be the heart of the matter. In the case of the parts from the Ebay vendor, it was $10 worth. I have already bought 100 times that value from other places. I emailed them about being blocked and that I wanted to order more, but all I got was an odd reply. This incident was 3+ years ago! Still holding a grudge? My sons could be buying from them too, but now take their business elsewhere. Between us, we are likely to spend $5K in parts and accessories for our trucks. Is that worth a dispute over $10?

The Amazon seller took nearly the whole day to respond and then didn't even say "we apologize". What happened to a timely response "Sorry to hear that, we'll be in touch shortly"...?
You point out an important difference that needs to be accounted for.
When you are purchasing something from eBay or the Amazon Marketplace you are dealing with a lot of small operators on a low budget. From those guys you are getting what you paid for. But where else can you order stuff directly from China?
And if you report the seller to Amazon or eBay you tend to get some response, as they don't want to be removed.

You aren't buying from Amazon unless it is sold by Amazon, not a seller. Amazon seems to do it right.
I have had great experiences with Amazon. Who else gives you a 30 day satisfaction guarantee with free return shipping?
That and they always reach out to get me to review my purchase from them.
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