The only thing worse than undeserved negative feedback is no feedback at all.
The concept of open feedback is three-fold. It provides a method for the online customer to help sellers improve by making suggestions, it is a wonderful method of telling others about a positive experience, and it acts as policing system to warn others about sellers that may not live up to expected standards. Open feedback can be, and often is abused. This is more true when the recipient is not allowed to post a rebuttal to provide balance by presenting the other side of the story.
As we are all learning, business and personal online postings can last almost forever, maybe even longer than forever. More importantly, in many cases, they can not be undone or neutralized by either the poster or the post recipient. When negative or unfair, the recipient can turn into a victim with little or no recourse.
The worst kind of feedback is misinformed negative feedback. In principle, online businesses love feedback, especially if it’s something specific that we can do better or something that we did very well. What we dislike is negative feedback that could have been avoided if the poster had actually read or searched our site a bit.
I’ll use an example from an Etsy Seller to explain. The photos below are actual screenshots. Just click to make them large enough to read.Now, the first problem is that the feedback poster didn’t read the title. It says that the item being sold is a Modern Furniture Plan. The second problem is that he didn’t read the description either, where it also states “This woodworking plan[…]”. The third problem is that he didn’t use a touch of common sense in wondering how exactly shipping for a 48 inch wide shelving system would only cost 3 dollars and for that matter, how a 48 inch wide shelving system would only cost 7 dollars.
The worst part about this is the seller now has a downgraded reputation for something that the customer posted in anger before rereading the description. These are the kinds of things that drive us crazy. If you do something wrong and don’t realize it, fair enough. Mistakes do happen, but if you think you were getting something and it’s obvious that what you think you’re getting is not what the shop is selling, you shouldn’t then leave negative feedback. Take responsibility and read the entire posting or listing. Quite often, the answer to your question is just a click away.
If there is any moralizing to be done here, it would be to realize that any posting has consequences, both positive and negative. Think before entering your feedback. Do some research, send an email, or just take a breath. Apply the Golden Rule. And remember, there are no “take backs” online. Once you write it, it is there forever.