Where Posting Negative Online Reviews Can Ruin Your Life

In China, e-sellers harass consumers in some particularly disturbing ways if they've written negative reviews about their products.

Thinking about writing a negative review? Think again! (sbfh 0607)
Thinking about writing a negative review? Think again! (sbfh 0607)

BEIJING – The Chinese Internet is not a safe place. Criticizing government officials might land you a free (and sometimes lengthy) trip to a re-education camp or an eye-opening stay in a psychiatric ward.

If you're complaining about a product that you bought online, chances are you will receive bizarre presents such as an infant-size coffin, or a parcel containing disgusting and smelly things. Insulting phone calls in the middle of the night will keep you awake or your telephone number might simply become a hotline for phone sex.

The harassment will stop once you remove your online criticism or - even better - change it into praise.

If none of these threatening methods convince you, the sellers have other resources. For example, they can bribe the administrator of the website, delaying any criticism or use keywords to shield the offending text from being seen, or simply just have it deleted.

According to some Chinese industry resources, it is pretty much the unspoken rule these days that all online shopping evaluations are fakes.

Bad news travels fast

Word of mouth is one of the most important features of e-commerce. A negative comment has far greater effect since "good news usually stays inside while bad news travels far".

However, a "harmonious world" without any discord cannot possibly exist, either in the real world or in the virtual world. A product's poor rating serves as a warning to potential buyers, but also as a reminder to sellers about maintaining service and quality.

According to a study conducted by British online shopping evaluation site Reevoo, 68% of consumers said they trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, and 95% said they suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don't see bad scores.

A good business should respond to client reviews positively and actively. A lasting business is based on an environment where sellers are willing to accept criticism from customers with an open mind and use this criticism to improve their products or services. Reevoo's study showed that 18% of consumers became loyal customers after receiving a brand response to negative feedback, and 95% of them would actually recommend a brand or retailer to friends after great customer service.

Read the full article in Chinese.

*Newsbites are digest items not direct translations.

Photo - sbfh 0607

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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