ScottCh said

Was my Tea Review too Harsh?

Hi Folks,

I found that my supply of loose black tea was nearly gone after several weeks of overtime work. So I decided to order a black tea sampler to restore our stocks. I looked at several offerings on before finding one I liked, and placed the order.

When the package arrived, it was surprisingly small. It turned out that my eighteen dollars (plus five for shipping) had resulted in four one-ounce bags of black tea. I looked at the product on amazon again, and found that the product description did include this fact. I know that the packaging cost for a sampler is somewhat higher, but it still seemed like I’d paid two to three times what the product was worth.

I was mainly upset with myself for not having read the description more carefully. I posted a review to warn people like me that this was not a large amount of tea, and included a photograph of the rather small bags situated next to a typical tea mug for comparison. I didn’t disparage the quality, or anything else about the product. It was only the value that I found disappointing.

A week or so after I posted the review, I received a phone message on my home phone from the vendor. I had not posted my number, but it’s not hard to find. She expressed strong concern and dismay over this review. She went into some detail about her company and its objectives.
I got another phone call from her yesterday, but I was away working and she left another message with similar content.

I sent an email to her company’s contact address explaining my review, and said that I doubt that anyone but the value conscious would be swayed by it. She replied saying that this matter was too complicated to discuss in email and that I should call her.

I’m beginning to suspect that this company has a large inventory of these small tea packets and wants me to remove my review. What I would like to know is if other people think my complaint is fair.

The last two times I bought loose black tea in samplers was from Stash Tea, who provided 50g packages (about 1.8 ounces each). They were the first place I looked, but they aren’t currently offering these with loose black tea. However, I checked several other stores and find that 1 ounce samplers are not that unusual. They have a broad range in price, some much lower than what I paid, some higher. So while I still think I spent far too much, there are other vendors who charge as much or more.

So what do people think? Was my review fair?

Scott C. in Cary, NC USA

8 Replies
IdentiTEA said

Hmm… $18 plus $5 for shipping for only four 1oz bags of tea. I guess it would depend on the quality of tea… but still… that is about $4.50 per 1oz bag (not including shipping). I have seen sample sizes cost more than this but the quality of tea was supreme (i.e. varieties of Fukamushi Sencha’s and Gyokuro’s). But, basic black tea… not even close.

There is definitely cheaper sample sizes of fair quality tea on the market. I am very surprised they called you… AND that they seemed to only want to convince you that you are wrong and not listen to your initial concern. Maybe there is more to the story, but it sounds like they have some bad business practices. IMHO, if they want you to simply remove the review without addressing your concern, then it means you have pointed out something that they are trying to get away with and don’t want people to discover.

To answer your question, yes I think your review is fair. Reviews are always fair as long as they are honest and the reviewer backs up their issues/concerns/claims with proof.

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-Jessica- said

I think it was fair since the size was stated in the description along with the price and the shipping costs, so you weren’t blindsided by anything. Now, as far as price is concerned $18 for four one ounce sample bags of black tea breaks down to being $4.50 per ounce of tea, which depending on the type of black tea it is and the quality then this isn’t a bad deal, nor unheard of. I can see where you would be frustrated at by not catching this before you ordered since shipping is an extra $5; I would be upset as well if I was expecting more tea for what I had paid. Now, by you posting a picture of the amount of tea that you received in comparison to a tea mug doesn’t seem inappropriate to me, it could even be good for their business since it will give prospective customers the ability to see the product before purchasing. The only thing I can see damaging or of concern by the seller would be that if you had posted some sort of a negative connotation regarding their product… be it the size, quality, value, etc. If it was simply a picture that was posted and nothing else or possibly something like, “Here is my tea that I received today.” Then I can’t see where that would be an issue and if the seller had an issue with that then I would be a bit leery, because who doesn’t want their product to be posted for others to see? Also, be it a good review or a bad review it is still your opinion and the seller should accept the good with the bad and acknowledge that there will not always be positive reviews! If anything, I think the seller should be apologizing for you being unhappy with your purchase, not harassing you over your review… that is just odd to me.

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I would not retract your review… in fact, I would edit the review to state that the company has been in contact with you several times to convince you to retract it. I probably would even go so far as to say they were harassing me… but you don’t have to use that word if you don’t wish to.

You were fair and honest in your review. You were dismayed at the size of the package. Maybe that’s your fault for not having read the description completely, but I know that I personally have done the same thing and felt pretty cheated, and I don’t think that we are the only ones that purchase without reading complete descriptions. But… I DO read customer input on sites like that… so if I were going to purchase tea on Amazon and came across this tea and saw your review, that would maybe not influence me on whether or not to purchase it, but it WOULD definitely inform me on what to expect, and I personally would appreciate that.

If this company is so dismayed by your review, perhaps they should rethink their prices, not spend their time bugging you to change your thoughts.

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VegTea said

A review is a review. As long as you stand by the opinion, and the review isn’t actually incorrect (for example, saying the packages are only 1 oz if they were actually 4 oz), you shouldn’t feel pressured to change it. Sure, it is your mistake that you thought it would be larger, but it is a completely valid criticism that the price is too high for such a small amount.

It is inappropriate for the vendor to ask you to retract your review, and I would suspect that Amazon has a policy against this. You should contact Amazon and let them know what happened.

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I totally agree with what everyone else has said. Your review is your opinion. The company should not keep calling you. The company needs to take your review, learn from it and improve their customer relations/change their CR person.
This is totally off tea, but the last time I encountered a “customer relations” type person, I was horrified at how UNprofessional she was and as a result my daughter is NOT attending that cosmetology school.
Back to tea, I read the reviews of every tea I purchase. I look for people like you that will give me their own honest opinions. Don’t retract your review, you may want to amend it to let others know what has happened to you!

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Pithy said

An ounce is only about a handful of tea, but it will still give you 6-8 servings. So a quarter pound will give you almost 30 servings. That to me is a good sample size and for 18 dollars, you could do much worse.

Since your review seems like it had nothing to do with the actual quality or taste of the tea and was only your knee jerk reaction to getting less than you expected even though the amount was stated by the vendor, I’d say your review was more petty than harsh.

Take it down and give that poor lady some peace.

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I agree with what you said: “I doubt that anyone but the value conscious would be swayed by it.” I have paid more than $18 gladly for 4 oz of tea :) so for example, I’d dismiss your review if it was for a tea that I thought was of high quality.

I also don’t think you should retract your review because the business asks you to. I also think that calling you on the telephone is out of line, and I wouldn’t appreciate it. I think the company’s reaction to your review is out of proportion to what you said (and honestly – even if you said it was the worst tea you have ever had, and you rather be set afire with pins shoved under your nails rather than drink it again, it’s your opinion, and you have every right to it!).

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Jason admin said

I think you’re fine with the review. Sure, as someone who works on the Internet and gets comments, questions, reviews of our website, I can understand how a “less than educated” review can be frustrating and worrisome. It’s already hard enough convincing people that they should use your service/buy your product with the wide variety of things available online, that one portraying you in a bad light for seemingly incorrect reasons doesn’t help anything.

However, it is a review and you a entitled to your opinion. When you put yourself in a situation where you can be reviewed online, you have to be willing to accept the good and the bad. You’re entitled to your opinion, whatever that may be.

What seems weird is how they approached rectifying the situation. It seems very inappropriate that they would call you, several times at that, and try to explain their situation. That sounds like harassment. The approach they should take (and that I try to take) is to figure out what they could have done better to help you give a good review or at least what they could have done better to help you understand what the product was before you bought it. They should look at the situation and see how they can improve their product/service rather than looking to have you retract your opinions, even if they think your opinions are misguided.

So, no, I don’t think your opinion was too harsh. If you wanted to add to your review and explain where your confusion came from, I think that would be fine and perfectly fair. But either way, they shouldn’t be calling you and asking you to take down or change your review.

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