I frequently run into less-than-excellent retailers on the internet given that I make most of my product purchases on the internet. Prior to placing an order, the product they’re selling looks fine. However, when I receive the product there will be some kind of problem, such as shipping damage due to poor packaging, providing me with a product I did not purchase, or shipping a product that differs from the description on the product’s website. In many of these cases, I provide a poor rating on the seller’s account or the seller’s product in order to warn other customers about the poor quality or service. What happens after this is quite troubling.
After leaving my review, I almost always see an email in my inbox the next day which states that the seller has provided me with an immediate refund. In this same message, the seller also states that I do not need to return the product, but they ask that I delete my negative review in account of the seller’s “generosity”. This is frustrating.
On one hand, yes, the seller has largely solved any reason I have to feel sour about the purchase I made. They gave me a full refund for the purchase and allowed me to avoid the trouble of running an errand to return the product.
But on the other hand, I’m still left in a situation where I need a product and expected to have it already. I still have to go through the trouble of ordering another copy of that product and waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Also, if I requested a return on the product I ordered because the website lied about the product’s description, I cannot simply go buy another copy of the same product. Rather, I have to perform research all over again to find the right product to order since the one I initially picked was bogus.
Online product reviews are tremendously helpful. Never before in history have consumers had so much information available to them prior to making purchases. However, if those reviews only tell one side of the story, the positive side, their utility decreases dramatically. The reason I leave product and seller reviews is because I find them so incredibly useful. Honest reviews are like gold. They save me an enormous amount of time and trouble. I want to contribute to this resource which I find so incredibly valuable. If I delete all of my negative reviews, other customers do not receive an honest view of the products and sellers they consider.
In the end, I’m stuck in the awkward situation of trying to decide whether a seller made an honest, one-time mistake and doesn’t deserve a bad review or if they’re a genuinely lousy seller and deserve a bad review.