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How Companies Try To Manipulate (Control) Consumers’ Public Feedback

September 14, 2007
So I bought Mr. Glendower’s Christmas present.

*Disclaimer: I love Christmas time. I do not care if Christians wail about people like me appropriating their holiday, because, it may be their religious holiday but it is my cultural holiday. Period. It is in my culture to celebrate Christmas!

The box arrived Wednesday. At first, I was not going to open it but decided I had better check everything out because it would be too late if something were not discovered until after Christmas. It is a wood piece item (small elephant end table for junk in his cave area) and the craftsmanship is very shoddy. It looks nothing like the picture. However, I can live with that. But I cannot live with how a crack in the wood in a particular spot looks. It is not a crack from shipment but a crack from putting two pieces of wood together. It is obvious where the artisan attempts to paint over and blend it into the detailing but not successfully. I hate dealing with this kind of business because I get angry. I expect my money to buy me a product that is worth my money. Perhaps if I spent more or did not count how many hours of work one product costs I would not care as much. But I do. I actually expect something for my money. I think if more people demanded their money’s worth, quality would increase and consumption would decrease, instead of favoring quantity over quality. “I WANT MORE!” screams the Disney shriller.

I emailed the company two days ago just as they asked on the packing slip and so far no response. Incidentally there is a seven day window, so technically two of my seven days are now gone. What I find interesting is what is written on the package slip.

First this: 7-Day No-Hassle Return Policy

_______________ [I will not reveal their name unless they do not keep their end of the bargain] offers a 7-day no-hassle return period from the date of delivery. If you are not satisfied with your purchase for any reason, you are welcome to return it for a hassle-free refund, no questions asked. To initiate a return, please email __________________ to receive a Return Merchandise Authorization number and instructions for completing your return.

So they have control of the return. In order to make sure my return will be accepted I need to hear from them. I need to get the authorization number and the instructions. Two days down and nothing yet. See how this game works.

But here is the company’s self-interest whopper:

Commitment to 100% Positive Feedback

We are totally committed to building and maintaining our 100% positive feedback rating and we hope that you will leave us positive feedback.

It does not implicitly state that they are interested in making the customer 100% happy, it states that they are only interested in 100% positive feedback. Perhaps you need more to be convinced.

To leave positive feedback: go to [blah blah] log on [blah blah] find your order on the list, [blah blah] press the “leave seller feedback” button on the right.

Okay, fair enough. Then this follows:

If there is any problem with your purchase, rather than leave negative feedback please contact us immediately at ______________and allow us to resolve the problem to your 100% satisfaction. We take pride in our 100% positive feedback and genuinely hope you will let us show you our dedication to perserving it.

Sorry, but I am getting forked tongue vibes. What is being said here really? They do not take pride in the customer’s satisfaction but their 100% positive feedback. Wouldn’t feedback be 100% positive if negative feedback was controlled, curbed, and discouraged? It is like saying I am proud of my 100% ability to handle damage control. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, however, is it supposed to be about their image or about the customer’s satisfaction? If it is about both then why is it worded as if only one side has agency? Shouldn’t my money give me some agency here? If companies were responsible and had preventive measures in place such as adequate quality control then a company would be able to trust a consumer with unregulated feedback.
  1. momo permalink
    September 14, 2007 7:21 pm

    Someone at that company is a master of passive agressive discourse!

  2. Rent Party permalink
    September 14, 2007 8:09 pm

    D***. That’s wild.

  3. Magogo's Musings, too permalink
    September 18, 2007 1:16 pm

    Well! I will be interested in hearing how you work this out with a pasive aggressive company which does not seem to respond in the timely manner necessary for return. My money is on you, thouhg. Margo

  4. Chris permalink
    September 20, 2007 10:53 pm

    This entry was 100% satisfying.

    (I only said that because I was afraid you adopted their 100% positive feedback policy…ha ha)

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