- Seller Labs
- On November 20, 2018
Half of Amazon sellers believe it is OK to ask buyers to change their product reviews.
Let’s imagine that an Amazon shopper purchases your product, receives it, uses it, doesn’t like it, and gives it a negative but honest product review. “Ouch,” is probably what you’re thinking. But there are a number of things that could have led to the shopper leaving a negative product review.
Maybe the product was damaged or faulty? Maybe they didn’t understand how to use it? Maybe they just didn’t like it? You won’t know until you ask. Which is exactly what you should do.
You have options as a seller as to what you can do to remedy this situation. But you can’t ask a buyer to change their product review. But all is not lost, you have options. Just make sure that you’re doing so within Amazon’s Terms of Service.
What does Amazon’s Terms of Service say?
Within the last paragraph of the Customer product reviews section of Amazon’s Terms of Service, it says:
We encourage you to monitor reviews regularly and reach out to customers to resolve product or service issues. However, you cannot ask customers to change or remove their review, even after an issue is resolved.
Amazon makes it clear that they want you not only to monitor your reviews but you should reach out to customers with issues. Simple, right? But you can’t ask the buyer to remove their review after you’ve put in the work to resolve their issue.
You’re probably thinking, “What’s in it for me?” and you wouldn’t be wrong. Nearly half of all sellers believe it’s acceptable to ask a buyer to update or remove their product review after you’ve resolved their issues.
And rightly so because asking a buyer to update their review based off of a positive customer service experience seems like the logical thing to do, right?
Half of Amazon sellers believe it is OK to ask buyers to change their product reviews
Even as logical as it may sound, sellers can’t directly ask a shopper to update their review. This can be especially infuriating if a resolved-but-negative product review is killing a product’s search ranking. But half of Amazon sellers think that this practice is OK.
We conducted a survey October 2018 to 326 random Amazon sellers. The survey was designed to represent an assumed number of Amazon sellers totaling 500,000.
With a mandatory confidence interval of 95% and a 5% margin of error in order to be statistically significant, we needed a sample size of at least 269 Amazon sellers to give us an accurate representation of the selling population. With 328 survey respondents, we’re confident that our data represents the selling population.
One of the seven questions we asked was:
If a buyer leaves a negative review, it is okay to resolve their issue first and then politely ask them to remove their review. True or False?
Of the 326 sellers who took the survey, 158 (48.47%) answered with true and 168 (51.53%) answered with false. With the correct answer being false, nearly half of all Amazon sellers are confused about this practice.
Read more statistical analyses from our ToS survey
- One-Third of Amazon Sellers Believe Influencing a Buyer’s Actions Is OK…And They’re Wrong
- Nearly Half of Amazon Sellers Still Believe Sending Multiple Emails Per Order Is Best Practice
- 83% of Amazon Sellers Don’t Know They Can’t Link From an Email to a Detail Page
- 50% of Amazon Sellers Believe It’s OK to Email Coupons for Future Purchases—But They’re Mistaken
- 50% of Amazon Sellers Don’t Realize They Can Ask Buyers to Leave a Product Review
- Amazon Terms of Service made simple
So what are we doing about it?
Conducting surveys like the one above and creating educational content are the biggest things we can do to help sellers. We want all of our customers to follow Amazon’s ToS completely. That is why we update our products and features whenever a ToS change has occurred. This is to ensure that we are doing our part to remain compliant as a third-party service provider. This topic doesn’t even deal with incentivizing. Rather, it’s about politely asking a buyer.
Ultimately, we are not ToS police. We can’t make sellers follow the rules. That is up to them because they are responsible for their individual business.
Actions you can take to remain compliant with Amazon’s Terms of Service
The easiest way to remain compliant with Amazon’s Terms of Service is to know where the ToS exists. We recommend that sellers review the ToS quarterly to remain aware of what’s going on and best practices.
Additionally, sellers should only work with third-party service providers who are committed to following the ToS, too. Amazon makes this extremely clear when it states, “References to ‘seller’ here includes all the seller’s employees and third-party partners.”
But there are ways to help your buyers and remedy negative feedback the correct way. That’s because buyers can update their reviews at any time. This contrasts what Amazon suggests with regards to feedback. Amazon says with regards to monitoring seller feedback that sellers can ask buyers—only one time—to remove their seller feedback.
A solution to your review problem
After you’ve made the shopper happy, simply send them another product review request. But that’s it. You can’t ask them to update their old review. You can only ask them to leave a review on the product they purchased from you. So when the buyer leaves a review on your product, Amazon will automatically remove the old review. This is because a buyer cannot leave multiple product reviews on a product. So by submitting a new product review, their previously negative or neutral review will disappear.
If you decide to employ this tactic you must pay the utmost attention to the language you use when reaching out to somebody who has already left a review. Use non-binding language. Don’t make it an if/then message.
The best way to mitigate conflict would be to send something like this after you’ve resolved the buyers issue: “Please leave a customer review for Product X.”
Keep it simple and as straightforward as possible.
Stay tuned for updates on Amazon’s Terms of Service. Visit our ToS page where we have a replay of a recent webinar we did on this topic. You can also download a ToS checklist to determine whether or not your Buyer-Seller Messaging is up to par.