There are a lot of similar topics on the forum and almost every author has experienced when some customers use reviews for unfair play. Usually, the reason is trying to get paid service for free (customization) or get a refund when there is no legal reason. To take this they use blackmail with 1-star reviews because such reviews affect item sales and authors are often forced to succumb to blackmail. As a result, it affects the author’s hard work and business and misleads other customers.
Before I suggest what can be done to avoid this let me show you 2 recent situations.
Situation 1: Customer created 25 tickets to support, we are a small team but we spent a lot of time trying to help with each ticket. At the same time we denied customization that is not included in the support. The customer left a “temporary” 2-star review to force us to do what he wants. We refused and he changed the review to 1-star. Since such a review violated the policy, it was removed through support, but the client left it several more times until he edited the text in such a way that support did not see a violation in it. As a result, we spent a lot of time on 25 tickets, and for the fact that we did not succumb to blackmail which violate the policy, anyway, we finally received 1 star.
Situation 2: Customer created 3 tickets to support and got help. After 6 months he come back and left 1-star review with the comment “I don’t particularly like how it was set up.” We assumed it was made to motivate us to give a refund. And yes, on the next day, we get a refund request with the comment “the theme did not meet my expectations regarding the price.” And we are forced to give a refund or stay with a 1 star review
What can be done to avoid unfair play and give more balance in the author’s and customers’ relationships:
- Add functionality that will provide a possibility for authors to rate customers too, like in Uber. So it will help to identify customers who play unfairly.
- Revoke the right to rate for customers who were seen blackmailing authors with reviews.
What do you think? Do you endorse it?
Unfortunately (and this is not meant in way meant to justify the bad behaviour), the only realistic option is to have envato step in on these cases, as is the case now.
If authors could rate buyers then you’d have the same problem, the other way around.
There will always be buyers who know what they are doing, those who unfortunately try to play the system, and those, who through no fault of their own, just do not understand things or do not have the technical expertise.
Without a definable and universal standard the exact same issues you outline above will happen just for buyers not authors, it’s likely to drive resentment which will not help to solve issues, and many buyers who just want to buy 1 item won’t care anyway.
As is the case now - if authors can demonstrate that buyers are breaking rules or blackmailing then envato will remove the rating.
Sounds reasonable. But Envato step in unfortunately doesn’t really work.
In the first situation, support removed the review after our request as it was a clear violation of the policy. And it was repeated 5 times ( customer just copy paste the 1 star review text again and again just an hour later when it was removed) on the 5th time customer changed the text of the review and Envato didn’t remove it. Imagine how much time was wasted for requesting it, resolving it on the support side etc. It is demotivating us as authors to waste time on this, next time. Customer isn’t a newbie, he is a developer who buys theme for his clients and more likely he did it previously and will use the same practice next time with the next author hoping to get a paid service for free using reviews blackmail.
How to stop this? Remove the ability to leave a review again if it has already been deleted by Envato for policy violation.
In situation 2, for example, we will deny refund request and ask Envato to delete the 1-star review which force us to provide refund violates the policy. After that customer will place 1-star review again. And we as authors lose in any case and not protected
Therefore, the current state of affairs, unfortunately, does not work. And we have a situation where some customers do not play honestly, blackmailing the authors, who are forced to agree to their conditions or ignore them, receiving an unfair 1 star.
Feedback is a gift and it helps a lot to improve items, but blackmailing is another thing and we need to do something with it.
If you mail Envato with proof of blackmail, trust me, Envato will step in and drop the ban hammer faster than you can imagine. Blackmail is NOT tolerated from any side! I’ve been in your situation on a few occasions, and Envato really handled it incredibly well.
Don’t hesitate, and contact author support immediately or as soon as you realise what’s happening! Keep us posted!