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Here's How Amazon Third-Party Sellers Reportedly Hound Customers Who Leave Bad Reviews


  • Yes, I've occasionally seen this complaint in comments from reviewers of various products. Since reviews are supposedly vetted by Amazon itself before being posted it's really hard to understand how Amazon wouldn't be aware of such practices.
  • Majority of my Amazon purchase have been positive. I once bought an item (~$20) from Amazon and it was used and repackaged instead being new. Without returning the item, I left a review as I disclosed here. The merchant promptly refunded the entire amount. Last I checked that merchant no longer sells there. Don't know what transpired between the merchant and Amazon.
  • edited September 2021
    I’d agree with @Sven that the majority of purchases from Amazon have been positive. Just yesterday a “used” coffee maker (obviously a customer return) arrived and it looks and works like new. Instead of the normal $70-$80, it cost only $40. And I’ve had better luck with their refurbished ipads, iphones, kindle readers, etc. than with any other seller.

    Now the negative: Decided to upgrade the 20 year old bathroom with some new fixtures. Have a friend who’s good at pluming and offered to help. The near $400 commode ordered from Amazon weighs about 75 pounds and comes packaged in 2 boxes. UPS dropped it off at the front door yesterday and the contents of both boxes are badly broken - the base shattered almost beyond recognition.

    I ordered it from a 3rd party seller, mistakenly thinking that was a department within Amazon. Amazon kicked the refund issue over to these fellas. Having trouble getting a shipping label from them. So, two heavy boxes of broken porcelain glass now sit in the house atop the stairs to the main level.

    @LewisBraham - Please excuse the diversion from your thread. Amazon is such an integral / overarching part of our lives, it’s hard to single-out any one area. Please know that I appreciated your emphasis on the harassment issue. It was indeed “spooky” when a seller shipped me an “updated” version of a failed electronic device along with a letter referencing my earlier negative review. One wonders how a less accommodative seller might have responded.
  • I always check out the reviews on Amazon before buying anything. First, I'm wary if there aren't a decent number of reviews. Second, there must be a combination of 4 and 5 star ratings of at least 80% or better. Finally, the reviews are presented by default as "Top Reviews", whatever that means. I always change that to "most recent", because it's easy to spot changing trends in satisfaction or other issues that way.

    Sometimes, especially with tools or mechanical equipment there will be a lot of negative comments. I read those thoroughly, because many times it becomes obvious that the reviewer is a mechanical or electrical moron who has little experience or understanding of the device; or who is complaining about something that is clearly stated in the specs but that the "reviewer" obviously didn't bother to read.

    Another thing I've noticed to be careful of is that frequently the reviews clump together different or similar models of something, so that some of the reviews don't really apply to the object that I'm interested in.

    We do order quite a lot from Amazon, especially since the pandemic started, because many of the suppliers that I use are some distance from the city, and you really don't know if the item will be in stock until you drive there. I've had to return very few items over the years- usually because an incorrect item was shipped or because of shipping damage. I'm especially careful when ordering from a "third party" seller on Amazon.

    "Promises" such as "if you have any problem we are happy to talk to you" tend to make me very wary.

    As usual, caveat emptor. Nothing new there.

  • I am often most interested in reading the three-star reviews, which seem more likely to be written by a neutral party to me. If I see too many five star reviews written all around the same time period, using similar glowing language it's a definite warning sign that the reviews are fake. I think there are tons of fake reviews on Amazon, and it's hard to police, and perhaps intentionally not policed to sell more product in general.
  • Yes, all of that is also true.
  • edited September 2021
    I submitted a negative review of the badly fractured $400 toilet. Amazon’s response:

    “Thank you for submitting a customer review on Amazon. After carefully reviewing your submission, your review could not be posted to the website. It appears your review had feedback on the seller.”

    I understand that there is a separate section where you can rate sellers. (These guys are at 39% negative rating as of today.) However, when the product costs almost $400, weighs 70 pounds and is related to home infrastructure I think shoppers should be made aware through product reviews of the potential pitfalls of buying at Amazon.
  • edited September 2021
    I've had complaints about condition-on-arrival get accepted in the reviews section. I didn't mention the company but did mention the damage. Many people do this and attach pictures of the damage.

    Also send in a complaint about the company and their response in the appropriate section.
  • Moral of the story. When buying china or cast iron fixtures go to the store & open the box for inspection before purchasing !!!!
    Save a penny & get $1 worth of frustration !!!
    Stay Kool Derf
    Retired plumber
  • edited September 2021
    @Derf - Second moral = Don’t buy from Amazon’s 3rd party sellers. EBay is close, if not better on price. And Ebay (in my experience) is much better at compensating you if a seller refuses to.
  • Speaking of Amazon, a few minutes ago I was looking for a set of small jeweler's files for fine work. I found what looks like a decent set at a reasonable price, and with respect to reviews- 2,307 global ratings, 93% either 4 or 5 star. In reading through some of the reviews one fellow made the following observation: "I reviewed a lot of file sets before purchasing these. Yeah, it took a while but these files are great."

    And he also made this gem of a comment:

    "Watch out for the products with less than one hundred glowing reviews. Many times they are fake. I wish Amazon would police the reviews better. To spot fake companies just click on the company name. If they sell a random selection of everything under the sun, you can bet they are reselling trash."

  • edited September 2021
    I had a frustrating “chat” with an Amazon rep this morning that left me really worried. The guy or gal seemed in total denial that anything was amiss. Than I read this:

    “We want you to buy with confidence any time you make a purchase on the website or use Amazon Payments; that's why we guarantee purchases from third-party sellers when payment is made via the website or when you use Amazon Payments for qualified purchases on third-party websites. The condition of the item you buy and its timely delivery are guaranteed under the Amazon A-to-z Guarantee. The Amazon A-to-z Guarantee will also reimburse you if you do not receive an agreed upon refund from a third-party seller or if a third-party seller charged an amount greater than the amount you authorized for your purchase.”

    I guess I’m trying to rush this. Next week maybe this A to Z will kick in.

    Resubmitted the 1-star review w/o mentioning the seller by name (per @Anna). Might sneak through.) I don’t want to rate the seller until this is resolved. (But …. not looking too bright)
  • @hank Good luck. Mine usually (not always) get through.
  • edited September 2021
    Anna said:

    @hank Good luck. Mine usually (not always) get through.

    Thanks @ Anna.

    Mine’s “sort and sweet”. But not really aware how one properly “reviews” 2 boxes of broken-up glass. :)
  • As an early member of the Ebay community (May, 1997), mostly as a seller; I still feel the quality and monitoring of sellers has a high standard, and also has a high standard for dispute resolution. Yes, there will always be those sellers who try a "hustle", but I feel this is less likely to be found at Ebay. I've purchased a few items using Amazon, but my first look for a product remains with Ebay.
  • edited September 2021
    - Review went up (although I’ll probably take it down after I review the seller).

    - Same item from Lowe’s arrived today.

    - Lowe’s had changed my order from “in store pick up” to home delivery w/o my convent.

    - UPS driver and I inspected contents. Also broken.

    - I declined the delivery.

    - Called Lowe’s. Refund promised.

    @Derf - I get your point, but I have had much more delicate items delivered without damage (think glass art work). It’s all in the packaging - and to some extent the handling. I certainly could package a toilet bowl not to shatter using custom-fit foam, double boxes, sturdier boxes , etc. Apparently it’s cheaper for them to just throw things loosely in a box and shell out the refunds rather than incur the expense of doing it right. Possibly some buyers don’t bother to seek refunds?

    Not a short seller. But if I was, I’d lay some money against Lowe’s after this episode. HD seems much more customer friendly from what I can see.
  • edited September 2021
    RE: “Here's How Amazon Third-Party Sellers Reportedly Hound Customers Who Leave Bad Reviews” .

    Yes, I have become such a victim - first time in near 20 years dealing with Amazon. The seller refunded the full (approximately $375) cost of the broken toilet a week ago. In addition, he wrote me that I was to “dispose safely” of the 70 pounds of busted glass rather that shipping it back as Amazon seemed to specify. He emailed me at the time saying the discrepancy over whether or not to return it was due to a “glitch” in Amazon’s system. Uncomfortable with this, I followed through by contacting Amazon and sharing seller’s desire (which he gave in writing) that I not return the item. Amazon agreed.

    Today I received (first) an email from this outfit with an offer of a $50 discount on a future purchase if I would “consider“ revising the seller review I’d submitted, making it more favorable to them. But they needed me to “reach out” to them with a direct email response (which I would not do) to “claim” the offer. Instead, I flagged the email as “suspicious” for Amazon. Later in the day I received a phone call at my residence from this outfit seeking to discuss the toilet. I declined to speak to them. Next, I contacted Amazon (via live chat), provided the number in Calif. they’d called from and requested Amazon take measures to stop the harassment. I’ve blocked their phone number. Hopefully I’ll not hear from them again.

    So … Lewis’s post certainly rings true with me!

    Oddly, even with these high-pressure tactics, the outfit still carries a 60-65% “positive” rating on Amazon’s site. One wonders how many of those reviewers were strong-armed into changing
    previously bad reviews.

  • When we were remodeling in SF a few years ago I stopped by a local plumbing supply house for some parts. Sitting on their loading dock was a display of special-purchase 2-piece toilets, complete with seats and covers.

    Choice of types: 2
    Choice of colors: White
    Cost: $79

    Looks fine, works fine...
  • edited September 2021
    @Old_Joe - I’m sure you could buy and sell me several times over. But, hey, if a $79 CR suffices for your “bare” essentials - than good for you.

    Picked up what I wanted from a smaller retailer here. Paid-up for color to match some existing bathroom fixtures. Am hanging on to the busted crapper until this is fully resolved. I’ll need ballast in the back of the pickup before the snow flies. A gold colored 40-50 lb toilet bowl would add some extra heft & might look nice sitting atop the firewood I normally haul around.
  • @hank : I was wondering if Amazon delivered your crapper ?
    Stay Kool, Derf
  • edited September 2021
    @Derf, As laid out in my original post on the topic, this is a 3rd party seller operating on Amazon, exactly the type of arrangement Lewis’s OP addresses. Delivery was by UPS.
  • @hank- your CR link is certainly informative and interesting. :-)

  • @hank : I looked back & reread your post & found out the problem. "UPS dropped it off at the front door ! DROPPED !!!!
  • @Derf- very good, sir! That one got right by me. :-) :-)
  • Old_Joe said:

    @hank- your CR link is certainly informative and interesting. :-)

    Yes - I always assume this is a very mature audience at mfo, able to handle delicate subjects with aplomb.
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