Customer Service – damned if we do, damned if we don’t

I am always disturbed to read posts like the following one on the popular MyADSL forum.

Although many of the claims made in this thread are quite simply false, the fact remains that for some reason there is a perception out there that we are not providing good customer service and that is very bothersome to me. If you look at it closely, perhaps the main problem is that users are using the bidorbuy forum for customer service, which is not the intended purpose for it. In fact none of the moderators on the forum are employed by bidorbuy (including the admin). Like many other forums (including MyADSL) they are volunteers and do not get renumerated for their work.

For customer service, we have a professional helpdesk system set up where each time a user makes a query either by emailing us at hello@bidorbuy.co.za or using the Contact Us form on the bidorbuy web site, the user gets sent back an automatic email with a ticket number (yip, just tested it – it is working). Therefore if you do not get a satisfactory response from our customer service team then you need to escalate that query (quoting the ticket number) to our customer service manager. If you still do not get any joy then you need to send your ticket number to me and I guarantee you your query will get dealt with promptly (within reason) and I will follow up as to why your query was not dealt with satisfactorily in the first place.

We do not support the selling of illegal goods under any circumstances. In the past months we have made our policies much stricter in this regard and have strengthened our relationships with other organisations to help us combat these problems (e.g. SAFACT, ICASA and copyright attorneys). In May this year we hired a full time Security Enforcement Officer, whose entire responsibility is to deal with such issues. It should be noted that in some cases e.g. when working with SAFACT they will ask us not to remove certain items that are suspected to be illegal (but they are not 100% sure) so that they can first do a test purchase making it more likely that they can convict the perpetrator (and there have been a number of convictions).

We disable and blacklist many users on a daily basis for various reasons (even if we cannot prove a user is dubious or not). For this practice we also take a lot of flack so it seems a case of damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

Another problem could be that the general perception of buyers is that when they buy something from a seller on bidorbuy if they have a problem with the seller then bidorbuy must sort it out. Our business model is that we charge a small commission to sellers for matching them with buyers at a price determined by auction (or Buy Now). It this then up to the buyer and the seller to conclude the transaction. I often use the example of classifieds. If you buy something from an advert in the classifieds of a traditional newspaper, and you end up having a problem with the seller, you don’t go back to the newspaper and complain, do you? It is a similar case when buying something off bidorbuy however we do implement additional measures such as our rating system, verified user programme, buyer protection programme and community watch to help protect both parties where possible. And if a seller is reported to us as being fraudulent or a user receives an abnormal number of negative ratings we will take the appropriate action.

What is the general perception? There is obviously always room for improvement but do we really have such bad customer service bearing in mind that we provide an online marketplace for buyers and sellers to trade and our business model does not involve arbitrating disputes between buyers and sellers (as is the case for other International sites with similar businesses to ours)?

Comments

  1. Brett Ward says:

    I am the one who started the above mentioned thread on myadsl, I am also the one who started the thread in the BoB forum.

    The BoB forum is part of the BoB site, and someone needs to take responsibilty for it, the people who run the various sections of your site are the responsibilty of BoB, and they should be accountable for their actions.

    Most of the claims on the thread are not false, there are many illegal things such as software and movies being sold on the site.

    As for customer service, I have emailed both hello@bidorbuy.co.za and ised the Community Watch to report a specific seller who deleted all bids on an auction and then relisted it for sale purely because he didn’t like the price the item was closing at… I still have the orignal email from BoB with his false reason for cancelling the auction.

    Do you personally think the auctions taking by YOUR admin in the forum are reasonable, and qood customer service skills?

    Lets see if this comment lasts… and just how transparent BoB really is.

  2. sicntyred says:

    This immature “little man” posted an allegation of shilling. It was found that it was not true. The seller even posted in reply on the forum to which “the little man” has not replied. He, from what I read on the forum, did not comply to the rules of the forum and was taken to task by the admin. Now he posts on MYADSL as the “wronged honest citizen”. Seeing that he had lost out with his post, he now has exaggerated the entire thing out of proportion to take the spot light away from the way he was proven to be wrong. Bidorbuy is one of the finest auction sites not only in South Africa, but in the world. As with other sites, it has its ongoing problems of fraudsters and the like. It does not need members like the “little man”. Let them rather stick to having their fun on MYADSL where anything goes…

  3. fordf250 says:

    I have checked the post on the my adsl site. If you go read the posts carefuly, you will see that the oke can be classed as a proffessional complainer – that is he is never satisfied with any service he gets – and this comes from his own post where he says he complains on a regular basis.

    Not only that but he is not such a big buyer or seller on Bid or Buy. I checked the Bid or buy forum and agree with what sicntryed says. He was proven wrong and now he bites at anything that moves. Stupid boykie! Like sicntryed says, stay on the my adsl site.

    Bid or buy has done me well with the trade brokers – I have sold lots of stuff! Keep up the good work Bid or Buy, you have my vote of doing good work!

  4. Brett Ward says:

    Haha…. quiet funny, you must be ‘admin’, the guy with the god complex? My complaint on myadsl is about the fact that my other post was deleted, I accepted the sellers response. Considering the responses on myadsl, this isn’t a once-off thing, happens all the time, so it obviously isn’t exaggated.

    Oh…and try READ the BoB forum… I can’t reply because the idiot ‘admin’ keeps deleting my responses. Nice try though.

  5. lIAM gRANGER says:

    @Sicntyred – publish your identity when calling people “little man”
    It just looks rather contradictory otherwise non?
    😀

  6. Solly Garfunkel says:

    I am very surprised to see such immature and insulting replies to Brett Ward. Is this a professional organization or a creche?

  7. And of course, Brett’s comments, both on the forum and myadsl have been nothing but mature.
    …………sigh…………..

  8. After reading this thread I decided to go with Andy on this one, and bought 3 items on BidorBuy. One was successful, but the other 2 have been a terrible experience to say the least. Out of this all I have to say that the communication of BoB staff leaves much to be desired, and that needs a serious looking into Andy. I hope this gets sorted out. tks. John Gore

  9. Having the honour of being the longest serving member on Bidorbuy (I think, I may be wrong…) I feel I need to reveal my experience of my “buys” on the auction site. Only once since my joining in 1999 did I go wrong, and here I never read the item description correctly and ended up with four small plastic propellers instead of the R/C aircraft – a nephew never got that birthday present that year!

    Of all the deals done – and my ratings are nowhere near the top members, have I never being “swindled”. All deals were concluded satisfactorily for both parties – whether posted to me or collected by me. All items received (except the propellers!) where what I bid on.

    I am often being asked why this is so. Well, it requires some diligence on the part of the buyer – 10% is “gut feel” and the balance just good homework. Doing a search on Bidorbuy to find a similar product’s price to compare with the product on offer is the first thing to do. Then hit the Internet – do a search here. If the product is unique to Bidorbuy, then you will have to use the “gut feeling”. We now have the Bidorbuy forum where one can log in and ask members for advice. In the beginning this was not so.

    Seller’s rating are an indication of track record, but remember, “things” can wrong with ANY seller. Make contact after the deal, before depositing any money. An email from the seller can reveal plenty.

    Getting carried away during an auction is the most natural thing that occurs – the excitement gets the adrenalin going – you just want to win the item! (I got carried away in many a gemstone auction – winning at the very last moment – result: I have a fair collection if fine gemstones today) But – make sure you really want the item and are prepared to pay the winning bid – before taking part in the auction!

    Bottom line: Bidorbuy is fun web site for getting items at a bargain price – but never forget, use your head and not your heart when bidding/buying – and do that homework before hitting the submit key.

  10. A compliment for bidorbuy:

    This is a very grateful thank you to bidorbuy for expanding the categories under the clothing section. I just noticed and it’s great that our pleas are being heard.

    THANKS!!!

    I think there’s plenty more that needs to be done before we’re at top efficiency but keep up the good work!