How not to respond to negative feedback

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Blackpool Tower Illuminations & Laser

We’ve all been there: that moment when you see the red dot in the pristine line of green, reading the utterly unreasonable (and probably untrue) comment, furiously wondering if they know just what they’ve done… teeth grinding, reaching for the keyboard to respond and let the world know just what an idiot that buyer is…

And we all know we shouldn’t, right? I don’t need to tell you, step away from the keyboard, get off the net, go away from temptation for a while and preferably sleep on it. But I probably do need to pass on that advice to one hotellier, who last week threw a guest out of his hotel on suspicion of having written a bad review on TripAdvisor. The man and his partner were told to leave 2 days into a 3 day stay, by the manager, who then called the police (but didn’t refund any of their money).

I was so stunned by this story, I went to find the reviews on TripAdvisor. And what entertaining reading they make. The owner flat-out denies that many of the reviewers even visited the hotel. Others, he says, were asked to leave because of their “bad behaviour”.

It’s long been said that sellers’ responses to negative feedback are much more telling than the feedback itself. And that’s as true off eBay as on it. It’s hard, seeing your business slated in public; but responding to it with outright denial can never be the way to handle it. If it’s one bad reviewer, you can ignore it; several, and you’ve got a problem you need to address. But what if it looks like that? A friend and I were discussing what we’d do if our hotel had reviews like that – there are times when you need to cut your losses, and get out of the business because it’s obviously not what you were born to do.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Henry Brett

17 Responses

  1. Ooops!

    I was checking out hotels myself last week on Trip Advisor and came across a response from a hotel which really didn’t do them any favours either – a real blow by blow response to the points raised by the reviewer, the response being about 10 times longer than the review!

    I didn’t even bother reading the whole of the response, but suffice to say that was one hotel crossed off my list – and yet the review that it was responding to wouldn’t have put me off on its own.

  2. To be fair to the hotel owner the first review is clearly fake:

    ‘Blackpool is beautiful. The dining is spot on. I will go back, but will be staying elsewhere.’

    Someones got to be having a laugh with that one.

  3. I can’t see why people don’t email sellers first to resolve any issues instead of leaving negative feedback first, then emailing them second. Some people who shop on eBay are a little dense.

    Anyway if you had booked a hotel and the payment had been accepted, you should have some sort of consumer rights, like with everything else shouldn’t you? Maybe the hotelier was the diff you left me a negative.

  4. From ebays’ point (not hotels), buyers are still hiding behind + feedback & comments, but marking DSRs in the opposite direction.

    We seem to have had lots of untold (ie; buyers does not contact us) problems in the middle of this year with for whatever reason buyers marking low DSRs on dispatch, even though orders are being sent within the dispatch time stated in listings.

    Just done a DSR report. & low & behold 3x 2’s on 1, ID in a space of 29th-30th September, so off we go to look at the feedback for that period & there is only 4 feedbacks received.


    fast delivery, and just what I wanted,.

    Excellent product and fast dispatch. Will definitely use again (by 2, same buyer).

    todo correcto (internationa buyer)

  5. The vast majority of buyers are completely reasonable and the vast majority of feedback comments are great. With DSRs, however, it just requires 1 in 770 to be ignorant, capricious or malicious for a seller to lose TRS status.

    These buyers are usually obvious after you deal with them: threatening emails; no attempt to sort out any issues; silence and lack of response etc. We ban them (and will happily share our banned list with other sellers). This helps a little, but what we need as sellers is the ability to pre-select out the grumpy ones.

    I can stop buyers with two UPI strikes, those in different countries, but not those who habitually leave terrible feedback or DSRs. If eBay are serious about protecting sellers from anonymous feedback then they need to give us the option to not deal with the rogue buyers as much as dealing with the rogue sellers.

  6. The POWER of the internet!

    Do you believe everything that you read in the papers?

    Trust me they (the papers) have a much better code than those who post on the internet.

    You can only have cred if you have actually been there.

    And no, I’m not going to book it now.

    Like I said, the POWER of the internet.


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