July 7, 2019 8:07 pm at 8:07 pm #1753696
Is it fair for someone to deduct stars from a review for shipping errors that led to damaged goods, something such as the wrong color item being sent, and/or other service-related errors?
I was just reading a review that deducted stars from a product (that I am familiar with purchasing in-store) because the item arrived damage upon delivery.
Personally, I have mixed thoughts about whether or not deducting stars (or points) from reviews is fair consumer practice.
I’m wondering if there is a standard practice that rabbonim suggest when it comes to reviewing products online.
Thank youJuly 7, 2019 9:09 pm at 9:09 pm #1753719
It is halachicly prohibited to post negative reviews about a Shomer Torah u’Mitzvos merchant.July 7, 2019 9:14 pm at 9:14 pm #1753723
A damaged item is almost worthless depends how damaged it came. But what caused it to come broken is not your job. You deserve to get what you paid for in full working order and if it’s damaged or broken then you SHOULD-for the benefit of letting other people know-write a review about the broken product you received and that the salesman or company you ordered it from is not to be trusted
Hope you get refunded in full or sent a new working product of what you orderedJuly 7, 2019 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm #1753729
Reb Yosef, the Admore o Chelm, has paskined that it i assur to post an honest and truthful review about a yid selling defective products or misrepresenting those products in online ads but OK if that merchant’s name is O’Brien or Bezos. So before posting your review, check the merchant’s online profile and confirm the name of his mohel.July 7, 2019 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm #1753728
Sam, let me remind you of a previous post you wrote
HASHEM RUNS THE WORLD AND HAS A PLAN FOR EACH COUNTRY AND EACH PERSONS LIFE
Don’t be so petty to slap a two star rating on a yid trying to make a living because USPS smashed up your orderJuly 7, 2019 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm #1753731
A product review is not a merchant review. Use the product review to describe your experience with the product; if applicable, leave a seller rating based on your experience of the transaction as a whole. If there is a shipping error or damage to the product, contact the seller or customer service team before rating either the seller or the product.July 7, 2019 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm #1753761
Reb Yidd makes an excellent point. In most online product sales, the merchant is simply an intermediary and unlike a service provider, really doesn’t have any role in the quality of the product he/she is marketing. In some cases a fragile product may not have been adequately packaged for shipment or as increasingly happens, a refurbished product may be sold as “new”. In those cases, clearly the merchant bears some responsibility and may be publicly criticized if he fails to remedy the problem after he has been made aware and given an opportunity to do so. If the merchant is KNOWN to be a frum yid and is willing, a local beis din might be willing to arbitrate the dispute (if the dollar amounts make it worthwhile) but for the vast majority of online transactions where there is a commercial dispute, reliance on a beis din to adjudicate is impractical. At the same time, posting a negative review may give you some satisfaction but won’t fix your original problem. Indeed in some cases, agressive merchants have actually sued those who post negative reviews.July 8, 2019 12:39 am at 12:39 am #1753767
Whether you like the Halacha or whether your hate the Halacha or whether you don’t give a hoot about Halacha, the fact of the matter is that Halacha prohibits a negative public review of a Shomer Torah merchant OR of a product made by a Shomer Torah u’Mitzvos.
Period.July 8, 2019 11:37 am at 11:37 am #1753824
Joseph, by definition, a merchant who sells defective,misrepresented and misidentified merchandise and fails to make good on it is not a shomer Torah u’mitzvos.July 8, 2019 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm #1753927
Unless the merchant happens to self-identify as a “shomer torah u’Mitzvos” in his/her advertisements, 99.9 percent of online transactions do not distinguish the religious beliefs of the merchant or whether the company is owned by or theproduct was manufactured by frum yidden. The exceptions would obviously be food items with hashgacha, a set of tefillin from a known sofer etc. Otherwise, what is the metric for “ownership” or “produced by”?. Do we use SEC 13G filings for control (5-10 percent of voting shares of a company), 51 percent majority control?? What about a partnership where the LP is frum but the GP is not? Its not a question of “liking” or not liking the Halacha? What about a product made by a company owned by goyim but there are frum employess working somewhere in the production process or providing components? There is a matter of practicality. If this is important to you, then in doubt, simply don’t post anything negative unless the product is so defective or the service is so negligent that it may pose a risk of injury to others and some type of warning is warranted.July 8, 2019 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm #1753957
AJ: Are you positing it is only permissible to post a negative review when the item is unquestionably and unambiguously defective, misrepresented and misidentified merchandise and the merchant fails to make good on it?July 8, 2019 3:38 pm at 3:38 pm #1754042
Joseph – although explaining yourself may not make a difference to certain ignorant (and possibly even ignorant that they are ignorant) and/or Halacha-denying posters, sometimes a little explanation can make a difference to a different innocent poster who is willing to follow a psak of poskim, and would benefit from an explanation. Not that poskim have to explain themselves – anyone denying the correctness of Halacha because they don’t agree with it may be an Apikores. No explanation is required. But where an explanation is available why not provide it.
Here is one scenario explained:
If a merchant sells a product and makes his living from it, and once in a while you get a product that is ‘less than you anticipated’, your Halachic recourse is only to get a refund. Once the seller has refunded your money, he has satisfied all of his obligations to you. Even if he DOES NOT give you a refund, you would only have a claim against him (in Bais Din) for the amount of your purchase. Posting a bad review online however can (and unquestionably will) result in hundreds or thousands of dollars in lost revenue, far exceeding any claim you may have against him. The damage you do to his business will continue to accumulate forever.
Most of the time we are not dealing with an outright thief that is perhaps advertising a non-existent product and purposefully ripping off all of his customers. If that were the case, other (non-Jewish?) reviewers can be relied on to warn you and others. A situation where your review is absolutely needed to protect future Jewish victims from being robbed is unlikely and maybe not what Joseph was referring to.July 8, 2019 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm #1754052
Come to think of it, Joseph specifically said “Shomer Torah U’Mitzvos”, so that precludes a thief or crook. By definition therefore the problem would be either the result of a misunderstanding (You expected a higher-quality item,) an innocent mistake (you received the wrong item), or something beyond his control (it arrived damaged.)
Even before you consider the Torah Halacha, why would you want to punish even a non-Jewish seller forever by posing a bad review (any less than ALL STARS is considered bad) for an innocent mistake? Especially if they ultimately give you refund!July 8, 2019 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm #1754092
Yitzyk, and saying that I’m an ignorant halachic dening poster is not lashon harah?July 8, 2019 6:40 pm at 6:40 pm #1754299
Again…the context is crucial. If the OP is referencing an innocent mistake in a transaction with a known frum yid that may be easily corrected by the merchant (refund or otherwise) than obviously a critical comment/deducting a “star” is inappropriate under any scenario. End of story. However, this scenario accounts for a small percentage of online commerce and there are practical limits to what a buyer knows about the seller and in many cases there are scams that warrant a negative response.July 8, 2019 6:41 pm at 6:41 pm #1754303
“I’m wondering if there is a standard practice that rabbonim suggest when it comes to reviewing products online….”
In the broader context, I suspect most rabbonim (and lawyers) would suggest avoiding online reviews entirely. As noted earlier, some merchants/service providers are incorporating provisions in their “small print” sales agreements which you routinely “agree to” prior to moving quickly to “checkout” that prohibits you from posting any negative or derogatory comments without first providing the merchant opportunity to correct the problem and even then, requiring you to go through arbitration. The practice is illegal in some states but still happens frequently for comments on Yelp, etc. where the ID of the reviewer is somehow obtained by the merchantJuly 9, 2019 7:50 am at 7:50 am #1754423
The obvious solution is to notify the company, wait till they respond appropriately (or not), and only then to evaluate the product and service.July 9, 2019 7:56 am at 7:56 am #1754398
Until a buyer receives his bought and paid for product it goes through many hands from the seller to the sales department to the shipping department etc…. But I believe according to legal American law-and Jewish halacha-that UNTIL YOU RECEIVE THE PRODUCT YOU PAID FOR-the seller is %100 responsible for it. (yes that even includes a thief buyer who denies to the seller of ever receiving the product he bought and paid for and claims a thief stole it from outside his home when really he did receive it and brought it into his home) this is something that every seller takes a risk upon himself of this happening but can pay for shipping insurance with the shipping companyJuly 9, 2019 7:58 am at 7:58 am #1754420
Not really sure of the context. The only frum on-line business that I know of is B&H and their customer service is almost universally known as routinely excellent. I can’t imagine anyone downgrading their references to them. Is Bezos of Amazon Jewish?July 9, 2019 9:04 am at 9:04 am #1754452
There are actually lots of online merchants “owned” by yidden but it depends on how you define “ownership”. Is it 100 percent, 51 percent or just whether a yid derives a material portion of his income from a particular company. In the extreme, if a yid has most of his retirement funds tied up in a small company he worked for most of his life and a bad review of that company might harm the stock price, are you prohibited from posting a bad review?? Its not a black/white issue and requires a bit of inquiry if you really want to be machmir on Reb Yosef’s psak.July 9, 2019 9:04 am at 9:04 am #1754451
Redleg: FYI – there are many many frum online businesses. Some of which are obviously frum owned; and many of which most don’t even know are frum businesses.July 9, 2019 10:19 am at 10:19 am #1754514
AJ – don’t be ridiculous. First of all, I did not mean anyone specifically. 2nd, someone who knows to ask what the Halacha would be in a specific situation is not ignorant. I was referring to posters who AFTER being told what the Halacha is (and I don’t mean by some random respondent on his own, but quoting Orthodox Rabbonim,) routinely deny the correctness of the Halacha by saying “it cannot be that way because I don’t agree.”
I am sure you understand that it happens here all of the time. And to further add insult to their ignorance, they do just that – they often add insults to their ignorance!
A person that KNOWS that they DON’T KNOW the Halacha and need to ask is a Talmud. A person that THINKS they know and never asks is the one who is ignorant, because they DON’T KNOW that they DON’T KNOW.July 9, 2019 11:29 am at 11:29 am #1754521
Redleg – perhaps you are not aware of the way the current online marketplace works. You mention Bezos as an online seller, but in fact Amazon is a ‘marketplace’ (almost like eBay) where only part of the products are actually being sold by Amazon itself. A huge part of the items sold are either sold and shipped by private sellers, or owned and listed by private sellers but stored and shipped from an Amazon warehouse (called FBA – Fulfilled By Amazon.)
Years ago frum people discovered that selling on Amazon through an FBA business is a clean and easy (Kal V’Naki) way to make a living. There are thousands of Frum people in Lakewood and across the country that are doing it. Many Jews also sell on eBay. So although Jeff Bezos is not a Frum Jew, there is a very good chance that a product you buy on Amazon or eBay belongs to a Frum Jew.July 9, 2019 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm #1755023
Should a frum business reseller on Amazon include in his/her profile that he/she is shomer torah u’mitzvos and therefore any review less than 5 stars is assur m’doriash??July 9, 2019 6:45 pm at 6:45 pm #1755956
What a great idea! There ought to be a secret code that sellers can put into their profile, like “100% SHT”U” to inform other Frum Jews that if they select that specific seller on Amazon they will:
a) be doing a Mitzvah D’Oraisa of “Oy Koneh M’Yad Amisecha” (AKA. one should opt to give his business to Frum Jews when there is a choice)
b) be more secure in knowing (allegedly) that as a Frum Jew , the seller is more likely to be honest and fair in both describing his product, and in correcting problems that may unintentionally crop up.
As an incidental side affect, the buyer will in fact be prohibited from posting negative feedback until he determines that the seller is in fact NOT a SHT”U.
Meanwhile non-Jews will still be free to post whatever review they want, so the general effectiveness of the feedback system shouldn’t be affected and/or be taken advantage of.July 9, 2019 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #1755957
This discussion about doing business with Jews reminds me of that (fictional) sign in the window of a company:
“I would rather do business with a hundred Arabs than one Jew!”
It was a funeral parlor.
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