Thursday, 29 December 2016

Shopping on E-bay

is infuriating. I do it sometimes simply because there are things I need which are no longer readily available in a physical shop which is convenient to access. 
The Senior Cat needed something recently. It was not available locally. There might have been another brand which was suitable but the place selling it was located on the other side of the city - more than an hour away. I looked it up and found it on E-bay. I bought it. They posted it as they said they would. 
Now I am being asked to not only fill out a little form about my experience of buying it but to review the product. Why?
Yes, competition in the e-market is fierce. I would be happy to just click a box which said something like, "I was satisfied with the customer service". It's a way of saying "thank you". More than that I do not want to do. I don't feel I should have to do more than that. I don't want to write gushing reports about "great company to deal with" or "fantastic" or....well you can imagine what some people write. Companies should not have to depend on what amounts to free advertising but they are being forced to do just that. Some beg people not to give negative feedback - "contact us first" they say. I wonder what would happen if you did and said "the customer service was lousy"? Would there be a grovelling apology and a plea not to put up anything negative? I can't imagine there would be anything else. It would surely be a stock apology.
Recently I bought something else too. It came from Hong Kong. I had a polite note asking whether I wanted exactly the same item in different packaging. In a shop I would have recognised both brands as being made by the same factory. The company I bought it from did not ask me to review the product. They haven't demanded feedback - but I'll give them a tick of approval.
All this reminds me of people who wander around wearing t-shirts advertising a company or a product. I like my clothing to be anonymous. I don't want to pay a company so I can advertise for them. 
They tell me that internet shopping is "different", that the sellers "rely" on this sort of feedback. Why? Surely what they should be relying on is nothing more than good customer service and a tick of approval as thanks.

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