No one likes to receive negative feedback, and those kinds of comments can really hurt a business. Fortunately, it's possible to remove some of the less favorable—and even neutral—comments from your Amazon store.

What Types of Removable Feedback Are There?

Amazon lists four types of feedback that may, in some cases, be removed:

  • Feedback that includes obscene language
  • Feedback that includes personal information like e-mail addresses, full names, or telephone numbers
  • Feedback that consists entirely of product review information (but if the feedback is partially a product review and partially about the seller's service, it isn't removable)
  • Feedback that consists entirely of information about Amazon fulfillment or customer service will not be removed, but will be edited so that it is struck out. The following text will also be placed below it: “This item was fulfilled by Amazon, and we take responsibility for this fulfillment experience.”

Which Comments Are Easiest to Remove?

Amazon will automatically remove the first two types of feedback when you make your removal request. These are listed clearly in the rules and easy to spot, so there is typically little dispute with those types of feedback.

Product review feedback has also been fairly easy to remove, at least historically. Some sellers are now reporting that it has become more difficult to remove this kind of feedback, however.

What Kinds of Actions Must Sellers Take to Remove Feedback?

Amazon will never review accounts for negative feedback on its own. Instead, you need to contact them to request that feedback be removed. Make your request by navigating as follows: click on Help > Contact Seller Support > Orders > Customer Feedback Problems. You will need to explain the problem succinctly but thoroughly and include the order number.

Matthew Ogborne created this template to use for requesting removal of feedback:

Hello,

We have received a comment from <USERNAME> that reads as a product review in our feedback profile on our Amazon account.

The comment is:

<ENTER THE COMMENT HERE>

As you can see this really is a product review and is more suited towards the product reviews section, can you remove this comment from our feedback profile?

Kind regards,

<YOUR NAME>

Leave a Response to Negative Feedback as a Last Resort

Sooner or later, all Amazon sellers will receive negative feedback; dealing with it is just part of selling on Amazon.com. At times neither Amazon nor your buyer will respond to your attempts to defuse the situation. Your next move has to be responding appropriately to the feedback.

Make your response professional, and don't get emotional. Keep it short. Apologize for the buyer's experience, and regardless of the issue—in other words, whether or not it was your problem—tell them that you have taken steps to solve the problem. This way even though future customers will see the negative feedback, they will also see your great customer service.

Amazon's Own History with Negative Feedback

In 2012 Amazon made the radical move of removing negative feedback from its own listings. This change was prompted by the cascade of fake, paid-for book reviews that appeared on Amazon.com. Predictably, this caused an uproar. This is one of the driving forces behind the deliberate difficulty built into the feedback removal process.

As a result, Amazon has now implemented a “no author” policy for book reviews. This means that whether or not a review is legitimate it will be removed if it was penned by the book's author. Reviews by people with direct connections to the author are also deleted by Amazon. In contrast, obvious fakes written by people with no connection to the author have been left in place. Amazon will also place sanctions upon the author if they (or someone they know) violate “no author” policy.

Conclusion

Contrary to what you may think, negative feedback on Amazon isn't always forever. Although the process isn't foolproof, working to remove negative feedback from your Amazon store is worthwhile. Negative and even neutral feedback can turn off potential customers; there is no justification for throwing away the opportunity to get rid of it.

*This article reports on the issue as originally published by Matthew Ogborne on Last Drop of Ink, available here.