Everydaydeals Bribes User To Remove Neutral Feedback

Here’s yet another story of an online store bribing customers to remove less-than-stellar feedback.
After receiving two defective “new” headsets and a third one that was missing packaging materials, Lance left EveryDayDeals neutral feedback. EverydayDeals then offered to give Lance a partial refund, but only if he withdrew his non-thumbs-up feedback. Lance’s email, and EveryDayDeals bribe note, inside…

I left neutral feedback after trying to buy a jawbone headset from [EverydayDeals]. The first one I received was “new” but callers could not hear me. The second one they sent me was an obvious refurb and fell apart after charging it (was held together by superglue even) and the third one finally worked but came without the box or any other things that you’d typically find with a “new” item. Quite possibly used. I left a friggin’ neutral after all this BS, and they still want to bribe a feedback withdrawal out of of me.

-Lance

Begin forwarded message:

From: Erik Faraldo
Date: May 16, 2008 1:25:06 PM CDT
To: *********@charter.net
Subject: Everydaydeals Online
Reply-To: everydaydealsllc@yahoo.com

Hello Mr. ****,

I’m willing to give you a partial refund if you are willing to do the mutual withdrawal process no later than Sunday May 18th 2008. Please contact us for further details.

Sincerely,
Everydaydeals, LLC

Sleazy moves like this undermine the ability of consumers to judge retailers based on others’ experiences. If you can’t trust an aggregation of anonymous opinions, who can you trust these days?

(Photo: slushpup)

Comments

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  1. Letsgohokies says:

    All that and you left a neutral? You have more patience than I do.

  2. MercuryPDX says:

    @Letsgohokies: Agreed. After round two I would have sent an email asking for a refund for me to leave NO feedback, and a neg if they didn’t.

  3. bradanomics says:

    I admit that I am on the fence on issues like these. It can also be be interpreted that the customer service is making an attempt (albeit a poor one) at resolving the issue for the customer.

  4. Geekybiker says:

    They arent making an attempt to fix this. They are making an attempt at damage control.

  5. DrBologna says:

    Once more I’ll write it: unless there is a way for Lance to add a new comment reflecting a satisfactory resolution, it is perfectly reasonable to request that he remove his feedback in exchange for a partial refund. Otherwise, he gets a now-working Jawbone and a partial refund, and the company gets neutral feedback that remains forever. Not exactly a win-win. In that case, the company has zero incentive to accommodate Lance.

    To be clear, I’m all about Lance getting his refund; I’d say he deserves it just for the hassle of it taking two returns and three shipments. It’s just that I don’t find it “sleazy” for the company to say, “hey, we’ll make this right, but why don’t you reflect that by taking down your feedback…”

    Finally, the Jawbone is a great technology in a piece of shit package. Read some reviews. If breaking was a feature, the Jawbone would be loaded. These things *often* break when the owner removes them from the charger, and the piece that breaks really looks like it is held on with super-glue. It is quite likely that the supposed “refurb” that Lance got was actually just a regular, new Jawbone that has the same defect that all of them have.

  6. bbagdan says:

    I hate it when sellers whine over a neutral review. What is the point of a review system if it is all positives.

    I’ve bought a tonne of stuff through mail and online over the decades, and I know that sometimes shit happens, sellers can’t be perfect all the time. I don’t think less of sellers if they have a few neutrals in their reviews.

  7. Why is this sleazy?

    Customer had bad experience, reported that hey had a bad experience using the feedback system.

    Seller contacted customer with offer of recompense. That’s what feedback systems are for, to keep sellers in line.

    But what’s the use of trying to provide the customer with monetary recompense if they’re just going to leave the negative (or in this case neutral) feedback unchanged?

    This is not buying feedback, this is a seller requesting that in return for a justified compensation for the customer’s troubles, the seller would like the feedback changed. I don’t that that’s such an unreasonable request.

  8. Wormfather says:

    I dont know, I think that a bribe can be considered customer service. I mean, if I offer you x to remove your negative feedback, one can assume that x satisfied you, thus the need for negative feedback has been negated.

    I think that if all sellers offered there customer a little x, the world would be a better place.

  9. EyeHeartPie says:

    If a neutral feedback is the only way to ensure that sellers will be more scrupulous, I’m all for it. If they make the effort to fix the problem, the neutral feedback should be withdrawn.

  10. Asvetic says:

    I wonder how many other times they’ve “bribed” people to change their reviews? Kinda raises the question are people that shop on line and then leave negative/neutral reviews, “fishing” for bribes. How honest are reviews anyway?

  11. Scatter says:

    If the customer purchased an item and received a damaged one twice then he should be taken care of regardless of whether or not he changes his feedback or not. The way that it was described above makes it seem as if the customer was blackmailed into changing his feedback (Change it or we won’t make it right)

  12. matt314159 says:

    I think what’s sleazy here is the quid-pro-quo requirement they are placing on the customer. “we’ll do this—-IF, and ONLY if, you remove the neutral feedback by X date”.

    SCREW THAT.

    What they should have done was agree to the refund and then ask nicely if the customer wouldn’t mind withdrawing/revising the feedback. But don’t blackmail him into it.

  13. P_Smith says:

    If their wording had been, “What can we do to change your opinion?” or an offer of a refund/exchange *without* asking that Lance change his review, they might have earned a change.

    But demanding the review be changed *before* giving a refund? That deserves a further negative review. Maybe I’ll go put one up.

  14. BigElectricCat says:

    Seems to me that the customer could/should/ought to be able to add *additional* feedback after the fact, reflecting any follow-up efforts on the seller’s part. That way, prospective customers get the whole story, e.g. “the product was a POS when I received it, but the seller quickly contacted me and we worked out a way for me to get a working replacement”

    . . . as opposed to “good seller. i like this seller,” which doesn’t tell you jack about receiving the crap product in the first place.

    An ethical businessman will fix problems with their good or services, comfortable in the knowledge that good customer service pays off in increased sales. Unethical businessmen try to erase any evidence of their own mistakes.

    And then the cheerleaders for unethical businessman blame the customers.

  15. Rachael says:

    If he hadn’t received two prior defective headsets I’d get why it seems like a “fair exchange” to take down the review for a refund. But they sent him progressively crummier products- that ALONE merits a poor review, not just a neutral.

  16. induscreed says:

    Lance should now leave a negative feedback because of this lame attempt at resolution and the tone of Erik Faraldo’s email.

  17. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @Daniel Alderman: It is sleazy because they contacted him ONLY becuase of his feedback (which is public). I doubt they would have given a damn if the OP’s opinions/feedback wasn’t public.

    It’s just like companies picking one problem, calling the media, and making a big deal out of helping one customer. It’s nothing but damage control, nothing more.

  18. jtheletter says:

    It’s sleezy because the history of the bad transactions is removed. A fair and more informative (for future customers) resolution would be to offer the refund in exchange for adding an update to the neutral feedback explaining the good final resolution. I agree fixing the problem should be reflected in the feedback for the company, but it should not “erase” the fact that the first shipments were broken and therefore represent a service issue. If you were researching feedback on this site you would have no indication of the hassle you’d have to endure to get a final acceptable resolution.

  19. madanthony says:

    @bbagdan: Part of the reason that sellers are whining over neutral feedback is because ebay recently changed it’s feedback system to make it so neutral feedbacks basically are negatives – when you calculate feedback percent, they count neutrals as negatives and divide positive by all feedback (neutral, neg, and positive). So customers might think they are doing a favor by giving a neutral instead of a negative, but it’s just as bad for a seller.

    Also with the feedback restructuring, only feedback in the last year counts, so ebay sellers care more about recent feedback then they used to.

  20. jpdanzig says:

    I think this bribe is very sleazy. Another tactic I don’t approve of is online stores “withholding” negative opinions for days or weeks while posting positive reviews almost immediately. No less than amazon plays this game all the time. Try it yourself: post a positive and negative review of two comparable products at the same time, and see how quickly your positive review is posted and how slowly your negative review is posted. Meanwhile other amazon shoppers buy the product under review, deprived of up-to-date and accurate opinions. Phooey!

  21. TPS Reporter says:

    I think its sleazy as it should be up to the customer to decide to remove the negative review and not as a condition of satisfying the consumer. Because at this point, it isn’t really honest to give a good feedback. The customer could give a new feedback or an update to the negative feedback and that would be fair.

  22. digitalgimpus says:

    I’m glad to see this being brought up. Great post.

    The company should refund regardless of the feedback.

    On a sidenote, any consumer who falls for these bribes is just as guilty as your misleading future customers into a trap.

    Respect isn’t bought it’s earned… should count for commerce as well.

  23. @BigElectricCat: Yes, I vastly prefer sites that do this — Dave’s Garden Web’s mail-order company watchlist for gardening cos is a fantastic example of this. You can add to your review (but not edit it) at any later point, and it notes all the dates of additions, so lots of people who leave a negative then come back and tell if and how the problem was resolved.

    IIRC, companies can also post to the reviews and tell their side, but it is moderated to a point so they can’t just shill. I’ve seen companies contact irate feedbackers that way, and I like that when they do that, it’s all public.

  24. Only a neutral rating?

    Letting ‘em off easy I see.

    That entire process rated a “screwed the customer” rating.

  25. wickedpixel says:

    I just had something similar happen with ebay after leaving neutral feedback for a seller. They offered me a full refund only if I changed the feedback to positive. (Which I found out from ebay isn’t even possible anyway…)

  26. AndrewJC says:

    Just because he eventually receives an item that is to his satisfaction doesn’t change the fact that it would’ve taken him four tries to get an item that was to his satisfaction. Neutral feedback in that situation is being nice, in my opinion.

    Saying something to the effect of “we’ll give you the item that you want in working order if you promise to change to positive feedback” is sleazy not only in the sense that it’s trying to buy a vote, but it implies that the vendor believes that taking four tries to get an item that should have been in pristine condition to begin with negates the fact that the first three tries were bogus. Nuh uh.

  27. Serpephone says:

    This makes me so mad! As consumers, we only have the advice of others to rely on when making a purchase decision from an online retailer. I do not think any consumer should be willing to remove negative or neutral feedback, as a matter of principle.

  28. GinnyErns says:

    This is unbelievable. How come some of you are backing up the company. The customer deserves a refund no matter what they do. If they want to write a follow up story that they received a refund fine. But they should not have to retract the original story of defective merchandise. Consumers have a right to know that the product has had multipl defect issues. How can a buyer be ware if no one alerts them.

  29. @ConsumerAdvocacy1010: @jtheletter:

    Isn’t that the point of the feedback process? Isn’t the feedback process to keep the buyers honest. It’s not sleazy to utilize the process in the way it was intended. While I think that this company isn’t offering him enough of an incentive to change his feedback, the ball is still in the customer’s court. He can choose to change his feedback or not. He can write them back and say, “You still haven’t satisfied me, and until you do, the feedback stays.” The seller can then work with the customer to come up with a fair solution.

    That’s the way it’s supposed to work. I don’t think that the idea of requesting a feedback change in return for a customer solution is sleazy. I think it’s using the feedback system as it’s intended. The seller is highly motivated to make it right to the customer.

  30. I mean, “Isn’t the feedback process to keep the SELLERS honest?”

  31. memphis9 says:

    I may be wrong on some of the finer points here, but I am concerned for Lance that as soon as he enters the negotiation process with Everydaydeals based on the posted email — if he chooses to do so — he is at risk of having his actions fall under eBay’s published definition of buyer extortion. For example, if he counters with “No, I expect (something more or other than what Mr. Faraldo offered), or my feedback stands,” that might be arguably extortionary, and he could conceivably lose his eBay account.

  32. smackswell says:

    @Daniel Alderman: Agreed, and well put.

  33. DJC says:

    This has happened to me on Amazon with a 3rd party seller, I bought a S-Video cable and it just didn’t work. I confirmed this on my friends TV as well. The cable looked of extremely poor quality and I guess I got what I paid for, a $5 cable + ~$5 shipping. The second one the seller sent was bad as well, and I proceeded to add a negative comment. They emailed me a few hours later and said they would refund the cost + shipping if I retracted my review. I did, but I have no doubt the seller is still selling extremely shoddy cables.

  34. PinUp says:

    Asking for a negative comment to be removed makes more sense to me regarding a transaction between private parties; otherwise it’s just a way for a company to provide poor quality products and only have to make it right when someone burns them online when they should be doing business in such a way that deserves good reviews. Although I have to say that I had an issue on eBay where I deserved bad feedback, but the seller was nice enough to consider my explaination and we worked it out.

    I had never bought anything on eBay before (or since), and I assumed that if I linked my eBay and Paypal accounts payment would be remitted automatically if I purchased anything. Not so, and I rarely check the e-mail I had associated with my eBay account, so I didn’t realize there was a problem until way after the payment deadline had passed.

    I saw that she had given me negative feedback when I signed into my account, and I immediately submitted payment as a show of good faith even though the item wasn’t technically still available. Then I contacted the seller to explain that I was a baby eBay-er, I had just paid her in case she still had the item (a SUPER fun dog carrier for my new puppy), and to ask her to please accept my apology for having my head completely up my ass. She obliged, sent me my puppy carrier, and posted positive feedback.

    The two-sentence e-mail in this post is WAY short of an apology, only offers partial compensation, and would not be enough for me to take back a neutral review. In fact, I would probably post a negative review for being short and offering me a crappy bribe.

  35. ShubhadaDawh says:

    Well, they’re sure getting plenty of feedback now, aren’t they? And
    it’s all negative. Touché.

  36. Chad Brn says:

    This Company has changed there name to WIRELESS UNLIMITED LLC.. / Also none as WIRELESS UNLIMITED Online out of Florida – They Changed there name after being sued for Fraud & Trademark Infringment after fraudantly using another already established companies name in business. Stay away from these scam artist!