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Amazon reliability cutoff point

nancylebov posts about a bad experience with an Amazon vendor who had a 95% reliability rating and says she will never again buy from anyone with less than a 98% rating. I suspect she is in the right ballpark for what the safe cutoff should be. I also placed a fairly large order with an Amazon vendor with a 95% rating before Christmas, and not only did it never arrive but there was no response to my polite email enquiries asking if the order had ever been dispatched. Needless to say I've applied for a full refund from Amazon, and expect to get it. Looking through the Amazon feedback pages for Wessex Books Ltd / The Book Cupboard of Bristol, I find that their failure to reply to emails about disappearing orders is a recurrent theme (and in one or two cases the shop has actually posted grumpy responses to complaints from thwarted buyers, which would be amusing if they weren't so unprofessional).

So I reckon nancylebov's cutoff point of 98% rather than 95% is about right. If they can't deliver a satisfactory service forty-nine times out of fifty, just don't risk your money with them.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
See also, with particular reference to the alt text...
Jan. 10th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
I don't think I ever look at the feedback rating. The only time I got stiffed (I was buying form someone who, like me, just sells no longer wanted books from home, and her sister took off with the book), it was a stupid but genuine mistake and I had my refund very quickly.

I should probably start checking.
Jan. 10th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
Percentages are a lousy way of describing reliability in the context of customer satisfaction.

90% means one customer in ten had a bad enough experience to complain.

98% means one customer in fifty had a bad enough experience to complain.

99.8% means one customer in five hundred had a bad enough experience to complain.

If you're running a high-street shop even the 99.8% figure is way too high for comfort! A small side-street pharmacy I once managed used to do about 300-500 customer visits per day -- and it was small and sleepy. Complaints coming in at a rate of one per day would have gotten management's attention really fast!

I'm willing -- on ebay -- to go with 97.5% or better, although if it's anything less than 99% I will check the merchant's positive feedback looking for bombshells buried in the comments (which often are much less positive than a positive tag would suggest). But 95% is bad in general retail, for Arthur Daley vales of bad.
Jan. 10th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
It's very clear on eBay that low margins lead to a lack of attention to customer detail. People like me who are doing this purely as a hobby can afford to attend to the little details that leave customers feeling delighted by the process, and can handle the risks to prevent transactions from going wrong. But if you're undercutting on price and hoping to make it up in volume, you just don't have the room to provide personal service, and as soon as something goes even a bit wrong, the system fails.

Amazon is different; unlike eBay, their pricing structure hugely benefits large sellers at the expense of small ones (which is an INSANE thing for a company like Amazon to do), and many of the most prominent sellers are just somewhat dodgy. But like others in this thread, I've had many very good experiences with buying books from Amazon sellers.
Jan. 10th, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
I go for the narrative rather than the numbers when assessing a new (to me) seller. In particular I look for trends in the neutral/negative feedback, so I'd take a punt on a seller who seemed to have a patch of very slow despatching six months ago, but a good recent record and I'd risk a supplier who has consistently glowing feedback and a handful of things that didn't arrive. Also I've seen some pretty irrelevant negative feedback.
Jan. 10th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
As an aside I've just had two separate orders with thomas_smeikal both of which were processed and sent faster than I would have thought possible. And the product - books (surprise) - really was new and well packaged.

His rating on Amazon? 100% (6215 ratings)
Jan. 10th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
bah. I also recently placed an order with a 95% satisfied retailer because I really wanted the book and the next vendor was vastly more expensive. It hasn't turned up yet, though the window isn't over yet (however the two other orders I made on the same day made their way here last week)
Jan. 10th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
My grievances with Amazon Marketplace sellers are never to do with books not arriving, but rather the condition in which they arrive.

Having an OCD about books and keeping them as pristine as possible, if an item is described as being "As new", I expect a copy that has no cracks in the spine, no creases on the cover and no dents or other flaws in the pages. More often than not, these conditions are not fulfilled and thus the book is not as advertised which winds me up. There's also the idiot sellers who wrap a book in brown paper and expect it to survive the postal service from post box to my house without taking any damage. It may well have been "as new" when you posted it but after being dropped a few times I can't honestly tell. Argh!

Jan. 10th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
My problem is that I've never figured out how to give feedback on Amazon. I had excellent service from a seller recently (she had 100% rating) and would really like to give her more positive feedback, but I can't work out how to do it.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 11th, 2008 07:13 am (UTC)
Hadn't looked at it before, but it seems to only do eBay.
Jan. 10th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
I had a similar experience on e-bay with a seller with a rating of 98% In their case it appears they have poor controls on their orders. They took my money but had no record of the order. I raised a paypal complaint and received their apologies, the book ordered (which they had moved onto buy-now) and a small discount. Looking at their history showed that this happens pretty regularly.

They had not responded to five attempts to contact them until I raised the paypal complaint.

I'm setting my cut-off at 99.9%
Jun. 4th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
That experience should teach us all something. I really thought that 95% is a great reliability score. I want to trust Amazon and I really hope you get your refund, please let us know if you got it. I think I'll just start using my easysaver for shopping from now on...
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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