Refunds and reviews problem on Envato

Hi there.

I want to write a public suggestion to the Envato team to finally solve one big problem related to refunds and reviews.

THE PROBLEM
I will try to describe typical situation that occurs in the third time between me and a customer. But I’m sure it happened in 1000-th time here on Envato

  1. A customer who purchased my item suddenly changes his mind and ask about refund.
  2. I ask him about the reason and realise, that the reason is not obliged me to give refund in accordance with the refund policy.
  3. I write about this to my customer as respectfully as possible and explain that I can only suggest him my support help to make the plugin to work.
  4. He declines my help suggestion and continues to require refund. Just because he decided to get a refund at any cost and he doesn’t want to hear nothing except that.
  5. I decline his refund request as it does not match to no one of the refund policy item.
  6. Customer writes 1 star review.
  7. I write support request to remove this review as it violates the rules and in fact it is not review, but attempt to forcing me to give refund.
  8. Envato support as usually is very busy with a big number of requests and my request wait for answer 5 days.
  9. All this time this “review” is visible for other potential customers and scares them away from buying a product. Some of them prefere to wait until this “review war” will be solved. Some decide to buy another product. As result I loose my money and Envato loses money because customer can buy on other market.
  10. Support team member deletes that review on 5-th day after my request.

The END of the episode.
But the problem remains and this story will repeat itself more than once if nothing will be changed.

THE QUESTION
Why we authors who work hard for months and years to get customers trust have situation when one of them decides to spoil it or to sow doubts about purity in our reputation can do it through reviews in 1 minute?

Why should an author suffer losses in sales for all 5 days until support gets to his request?

THE SUGGESTION
My suggestion is very simple - if customer created refund request he should not have ability to leave a review for the item. Even he left the review before, this review should be hidden and do not affect on the average rating for the time until refund request will be finally solved.

It’s a good that Envato removes customer’s review when he gets refund. It’s logical - if customer is not product’s user anymore he shouldn’t rate it.
But from the moment when customer creates a refund request he already decided to stop to be a product user! And the reviews system for him becomes an instument for pressure to reach his goal, but not a way to evaluate the quality of the product.

And we all understand what review could be if customer asked about refund. In 99% cases it will be 1 star review with words like “NEVER BUY THIS PRODUCT” that is not about user experience with product, but attempt to force to accept refund. So why customer still have ability to leave a review in this case?

I think nothing bad will not happen if such review will be hidden for this period and everyone will win in this case:

  • Author and Envato will not be loosing money during these 5 days.
  • A customer will calmly wait for the resolution of the dispute and if his arguments match to the refund rules he will receive his money back.

Does anybody know who from Envato team can accept this request and give us answer about their position of this problem?
I would be thankful for advice.

2 Likes

While this all sounds good on paper, the truth is that there are laws scattered around the world which are designed to protect consumer reviews (and to prevent companies from restricting them). Envato has a legal team that looks into these kinds of laws and determines how they apply to the marketplaces.

For example, in the United States where Envato is partially based, there is a broad law protecting the right to review. This may or may not apply to reviews left on the marketplaces themselves, but restricting the ability to leave a review based on conditions is definitely what that law was designed to prevent.

I’m certain that Author Support has received a tremendous amount of complaints from authors in these kinds of situations, so if there was an easy solution they would undoubtedly have it on their to-do list. The fact that nothing has changed could suggest they are being legally cautious (and in my opinion, they absolutely should be – messing with this stuff while operating internationally is begging for trouble).

Perhaps a middle-ground, such as making it easier to dispute a review by adding a button on the interface and giving it a special priority/team in the support system, would be better.

2 Likes

Hi, this is like the XXXth user complaining about the same thing. Even you say:

That saying is almost 100% wrong. You guys are, like anyone other, locked in the limbo of the tremendous amount of work on your back and don’t see the whole picture. There are really easy steps to consider, like FLAG A REVIEW it’s so normal, but here, no.

So, even-dough you guys now admit that there’s a problem, you’re still not up for resolving it.

I’ll keep an eye open and let’s say in 6-9 months Envato will most likely try to do something about the author related problems on Envato Market, and won’t go in the reasons for that decision.

Cya then.

Reviews need a flag button < Flag a review 29th May 2021, I can dig even further I’m bringing this to attention like for ages.

1 Like

No “you guys” here, I’m just an author like you giving my two cents. :+1:

Indeed, innovation and development has been extremely stagnant for a while. There are posts calling it out as far back as 2017. It sometimes appears as though there are only one or two active developers left on the team and they’re stuck working on bugs 24/7.

There are features I was told were “on the backlog” four years ago and still haven’t been implemented. I have slightly renewed hope that the new CEO will fix things given some time, but I consider the chances exceptionally slim… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Nonetheless, that doesn’t change the legal considerations that may prevent movement on the topic at hand. Nor the fact that it will have to go onto “the backlog” that still has those features from 4 years ago… :rofl:

2 Likes

Guys, thank you for your comments on this topic.
How do you think where I can send this request to Envato officials?

Because here on the forum we only talk about the problem, but to attempt to solve it, we have to send official request to Envato and they at least should give official answer on it. All comments here are only our ideas about how everything works. But they will remain only comments, until we ask Envato to do something with this.

Envato have a lot of support branches but I’m not sure where I should send my request and my questions.
I would be thankful for any ideas.

You can always open a ticket with any concerns or suggestions here:

1 Like

There are always 2 sides to every coin - Author or Buyer.

In my case as a “Buyer” I must have bought and paid for 190 items plus. I’m pleased to say that the majority of these work as expected. Then within that group there have been some which needed tweaking because they were far from perfect.

Some scripts and downloads have either then not worked, or the author disappears into the sunset never to be seen again!

I believe in transparency and therefore buyers AND authors should be able to leave reviews about each other. So my suggestion would be to allow reviews to be left for buyers (as well as authors).

For example -

  1. Were they a good buyer?
  2. Has the buyer been rude or offensive?
  3. Has the buyer requested a refund?
  4. Did the buyer allow me as an author time to help them?

Or something along those lines.

I know authors have raised issues with refunds and reviews before, but at times, I think these may have been justified.

By the way - as a buyer I have never requested a refund through the Envato System - but there has to be fairness for both author and the buyers.

Flagging a review is a very good idea and I hope it will be implemented. However, in general, the issue with reviews and refuns is more complex. For example, did you know that you can re-submit a review after canceling it? Or that you can open a refund again after it has been declined? These are very rare cases, for my 8000 sales, this happened only few times.
The system is designed in such a way that the customer can regularly give 1 star rating and Envato cannot do anything about it. Their recommendation in this case is to give a refund, because for Envato, the success of a customer on the market means that he will come back and buy something else… not from your products, of course.

1 Like

@Stepasyuk public discussions are usually more helpful. You can invite someone from Envato to this discussion Envato - Envato Forums

@BenLeong can you please help us in our situation?

Shortly we want to ask you about:

  1. Who personally from Envato can consider our request to change the reviews system and add the ability to freeze/flag the review from a customer in case a request for a refund is opened by the customer?

  2. How we authors can be protected from such situations, when 1-star review which violates the Review rules is visible for all potential customers during 5 days until moderator remove it? All these 5 days we incur losses due to loss of trust in the eyes of other customers.

  3. What is Envato official position about the problem, when customer who has no basis for a refund tries to forcing it via 1-star review?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

1 Like

Any news on this?

We had a lot of similar users, I can add that some were requesting support via 1 star review, all actions were done in timespan of 20 minutes after the purchase.

Another thing / problem is when client gives rating more than once - they will not just remove it despite sending all needed explanations and screenshots almost instantly upon repling to our Envato support ticket etc. And client who is barely reachable afterwards by Envato support for more details.

I guess Env support should prioritize these requests from authors since it can cause issues with sales.

I reject such type of refund requests if the customer was “downloaded” my item. Because, most of such customers are scammers!

Haha, here’s my suggestion about refunds. Reject 100% of them. Then see what happens.

  1. Nothing. 40%
  2. They raise a dispute (can be easily defended, that is if it gets to you) 20%
  3. They leave a review 40% (75% of those can be removed)

If it is a valid review you cannot do anything about it, but usually there’s all kids of ways to disapprove reviews (not valid period, mentioning refund process, talking lies about your items, taking rubbish, telling that you didn’t provide support, but we all know you did, as the support policy is limited to you replying questions about your item, and that’s it, and many more).

I will add a bit of extra info, the only case valid for a refund is not downloaded item that has a refund request reason “Mistaken purchase”.

I fight such reviews and they’re removed about 2 days generally. Also, I report users and their comments which are fully false!

In my career, I removed a lot of bad reviews and I am happy that Envato cares the authors.

But the problem is: if you remove a rating first time, and same customer comes again and again with same bad reviews, Envato will not remove the rating like the first time. They will try to communicate with author and customer. This is a long process. It is very hard to spend lots of time on this type of small, useless issues.

For this reason, I see there are many great sellers with very bad reviews. They do not try to remove the illegal ratings any more, because they do not have time. Does that mean, their products are bad? Never! Because they are getting awesome sells always. They do not have time to go through the long review-removing process. There are a lot of scammers on Envato now-a-days. I hope, Envato will take care of these things.

1 Like