Green Elephant sideway

My 3yo made me a green elephant with one hairy ear – I don’t know what you’re seeing right now or why you’re laughing.

This is where you get to tell me if I’m being an excessive dick and what my next move is. If I am, it’s because I detest fake reviews on Amazon and the paid for shills that post them. Or maybe I’m just a dick, don’t know at this point. Really, with all the health issues I’ve had going on I feel the latent dickishness in me might have bubbled over for the past 8 months.

Presented without editing other than formatting (three different email systems involved, four unrelated emails removed) and removing one piece of information about Pocketables I was not evidently allowed to tell anyone, is my history with Syllable and their headphones/PR/customer support.

I posted this review on Pocketables. TL;DR good headphones, the fit is NOT universal. I’d like if they fit.

I went to Amazon and noticed pretty much nothing but 5-star reviews, most of them said things like “didn’t work in my ears, worked in friends/coworkers/etc” so amazing 5-stars. All those reviewers also did nothing but post 5-star reviews of everything they got for free.

Quick rundown of Amazon stars 1-Hate it, 2- Don’t like it, 3-It’s OK, 4-Like it, 5-I love it.

my amazon reviewI posted a 3-star review indicating that TL;DR good headphones, fit is NOT universal, would like them if they fit. If they don’t fit you’re not a freak of nature and should return them. Probably a good device defeated by three cents worth of plastic and if you read any of the reviews text you’d see most people were complaining, even if they were giving them five stars.

There’s a little screenshot of the review over to the right if you want to read it, I’m unsure how to directly link my review.

But anyway, before we go on too far let’s start from the beginning.

From the beginning (contact us link) 6/12/2016

From: josehao
syllable.hk
Subject: Syllable d900s Review

Message Body:
Syllable d900s Review
Hi Mr./Ms.
Can i send you a Syllable D900s Headphones for review or video show?
Syllable D900s Headphones
http://amzn.to/1UPcjwO
Wish you like.
If you are interested in having a products for test and review, please send me back,and give an address, I will give you one sample.
Syllable D900s Headphones
http://amzn.to/1UPcjwO
Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/Syllable-Headphones-660502130767466/
Best Regards,
Syllable.hk


Me:

Ship them to

Paul King
Pocketables
Address removed because I’m twitchy like that

I’m at about a two week backlog on reviews at the moment but will get them in order.


6/14/16-6/29/16

They give me a code to use at Amazon to get them. Four emails indicating I got them, them offering me a battery to try, me indicating that I didn’t think said battery would go over well with the readers as it wasn’t huge capacity, didn’t do quick charge, couldn’t inflate a tire, etc.


6/29/16 I post the Pocketables review

TL;DR I mention the box has to be closed to charge the buds, I’m annoyed with the horribly translated manual, the ear pieces don’t seem to matter one way or the other, I was able to break the Bluetooth connection with my hand, due to fit the audio was flat, they didn’t survive headbanging, when I could get them in right (holding them) they sounded good but that I shouldn’t have to hold them in.


6/30/16 I post my Amazon review

Honestly I posted my Amazon review because I was annoyed at the obviously bought 5-star reviews saying “it’s great, I have big floppy mutant ears and it doesn’t work but they’re perfect” – you can click that image up there to expand the image/read it if you want.

Short of it is a crapload of 5-star reviews with some variation on “I got these at a discount/free for my honest and unbiased opinion” and I wanted people to know that if they got these their ears weren’t the problem, it was the headset that was the problem.


6/30/16 the first email shows

From: Syllable Headphones (same email address as above)
To: Pocketables email address
Time: 9:10pm

hi paul
can you change the amazon review to 4 star.
we can send you K2 POWER BANK and a new version of d900s headphones.
thanks a lot.


I was getting ready for a pretty long Independence Day weekend, I didn’t catch that until Friday morning. It smelled faintly like a bribe but I figured benefit of the doubt and I’d get to it when I had a chance. I had to get work locked down, had a lot of health things going weird with me, etc.

Basically going onto Amazon to change a completely factual positive review was not priority number one.


6/30/16 Customer support email

I receive a perfectly presented offer of a refund/replacement from the Customer Support and offer to rectify the matter. I don’t see this email until the 5th of July. Sorry, kids, fireworks, lot of things going on.


7/3/16 email #2

From: Syllable Headphones (same email address as above)
To: Pocketables email address
Time: 10:02pm

hi paul
can you delete the review on amazon page?
thanks a lot.


I’m not even reading Pocketables emails over the weekend


7/4/16 Independence day – email #3

From: Syllable Headphones (same email address as above)
To: Pocketables email address
Time: 9:43 pm

hi paul
can you delete the review on amazon page for us?
we can send you K2 power bank code for review.
thanks a lot.


7/5/16 My first response

Hey there, it was a holiday weekend in the US.

Looking at the reviewer agreement and guide on Amazon anything above two stars is a positive review. I gave it three. That’s a like but not love – OK.

I mentioned they’re really nice other than that the ear things don’t fit properly. I gave them a review indicating they’re nice but don’t fit my ears properly. If you want me to say anything differently, that would be untrue. Your top reviews tend to indicate that this is a common problem.

I’m really not interested in other product in exchange for a star. You’re welcome to provide me a return shipping label and I’ll even get these back to you. As it stands I was probably going to give them to a kid I know in Big Brothers.

Also, just FYI, your Amazon seller agreement:

  • Misuse of ratings, feedback, or reviews: Any attempt to manipulate ratings, feedback, or reviews is prohibited.
    Ratings and feedback: The rating and feedback features allow buyers to evaluate the overall performance of a seller, helping sellers to develop a reputation within the Amazon Marketplace. You may not post abusive or inappropriate feedback or include personal information about a transaction partner. This also includes posting ratings or feedback to your own account. You may request feedback from a buyer, however you may not pay or offer any incentive to a buyer for either providing or removing feedback.
  • Reviews: Reviews are important to the Amazon Marketplace, providing a forum for feedback about product and service details and reviewers’ experiences with products and services — positive or negative. You may not write reviews for products or services that you have a financial interest in, including reviews for products or services that you or your competitors sell. Additionally, you may not provide compensation for a review other than a free or discount copy of the product. If you offer a free or discount product, it must be clear that you are soliciting an unbiased review. The free or discount product must be provided in advance. No refunds are permitted after the review is written. You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings, including by offering an excessive number of free or discounted products, in exchange for a review. Review solicitations that ask for only positive reviews or that offer compensation are prohibited. You may not ask buyers to remove negative reviews.

I’m one of the few review sites out there that’s unbiased, fair, and not funded for by gadgetry sales. I figured you knew that when you approached Pocketables (there’s a reason we have/had stats I’m not allowed to share evidently). You have a positive Amazon review even if you don’t believe it. I had a couple of readers read the review as this is the first contested 3 star review I’ve had and they agree that it’s positive, if critical of other reviewers.

So what do you want to do at this point?


7/5/16 my second response (to Customer Service)

While you are welcome to send a replacement for the rubber ear pieces if they’re different from what originally shipped, from several reviews (most actually,) you have on your Amazon page it appears that this is a widespread problem. The ear pieces just don’t make a proper seal. It makes everything sound bleh. As all that is wrong with this is the ear covers, and that appears to be the case across several reviews, that’s the only thing I would need as all the rest of the product is fine.

Your top 5 star review includes “…they just didn’t feel right. I twisted and I pulled and I repositioned and then when I got to work I played with them some more. Some of my coworkers were asking what I was doing and I responded that I was reviewing a high priced/high quality earbud that didn’t fit.” followed by him saying it worked on other people so that’s why he was giving it five stars. Oh, and that he also got it for free or discounted.

Second 5 star review “… thought the sound quality was lacking a lot with bass but then I realised I was not wearing them tight enough.
Once I pushed them further into my ears, they sound brilliant.” then mentions he got them for a discount

Third 5-star review indicates that the person is worried about them falling out of the ears, then mentions they got them for free.

Let’s see, from the newest on we’ve got “fall out easily,” “fitted loosely,” “sounds like it’s missing body” – basically every other review has the same complaint, and it’s all from the ear fittings, not the hardware.

Having reviewed headsets, earphones, earbuds, etc since 2010 I can say you’ve got a good piece of equipment that’s failing because of a very bad set of rubber. If you have new rubber ear pieces feel free to get them to me, judging by the reviews though this is all of your product.

I have also offered your PR rep who originally contacted me for a review on Pocketables to ship these back if you want to resell them. I don’t think they’re broken, as I stated in my review, just the fittings are not for everyone, One person even mentions grabbing a pair of Sony fittings to make them work. Really, count the reviews, it’s a huge number of them.


7/5/16 Customer service response to above

Hello Paul,

Thanks for your these advise, our upgrade version has solved the rubber earbuds issue.
But the new items will take 7 days to be arrived Amazon factory. So we will send you a new one after a few days.
BTW, would you mind update your last review? Because we’ve solved those earbuds problems and the connection issue of the new ones.
Thank you very much in advance! Have a nice day!

Best Regards
TGOGO


7/6/16 my response to CS

I’ll be looking forward to them and will update the review when I get them. As a note, and this is a pretty important thing you need to keep in mind as an Amazon seller, you just violated the seller terms of service through an Amazon monitored email account. Your PR agent did it multiple times via email this weekend.

In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200414320

Specifically:
Misuse of ratings, feedback, or reviews: Any attempt to manipulate ratings, feedback, or reviews is prohibited
You may not ask buyers to remove negative reviews.

You’re asking me to remove a review you consider negative on a product I received, even though it’s on the positive stars, and contains completely factual information about the product I was sent and commentary on the fake reviews from people who do nothing but post 5-star reviews. Really, there was no way that many ear mutants existed for one review.

I don’t think your PR agent checked Pocketables (the review site I write for that he contacted me on,) very closely or he’d know our relationship with Amazon includes real reviews, several dealings with Amazon over review manipulation from companies over paid-for ratings, and several seller (and user) accounts being suspended for said review manipulation.

After the purchase and review the PR agent contacted me three times asking me to remove the review and offered me other product to review. At the point I was a buyer that falls into violating the “you may not pay or offer any incentive to a buyer for either providing or removing feedback.”and “Review solicitations that ask for only positive reviews or that offer compensation are prohibited.” sections of your Amazon seller agreement.

When I receive the new units or ear plugs, which is all I assume has changed, I will update the review. If I receive one more attempt to have me remove my review, change the star rating, modify it in any way, I will contact my last contact in the investigations department. I will also update my review with every email I’ve received (including the PR agent’s) asking me to change my ratings.

Anyhow, just letting you know. No animosity, however your PR agent is clearly attempting to purchase 4+ star reviews, and you’re violating TOS by asking me to modify my review because a product that I don’t have might be in my hands in a week or two and it might be better.


7/6/16 CSR response

Hello Paul,

Sorry for that experience you had, and we’ll never do that things any more. Also we’re appreciated that your honest review of our product.
And we’ll take your advise to improve better product quality and customer service. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Have a nice day!

Best Regards
TGOGO


7/11/16 and again

From: Syllable Headphones (same email address as above)
To: Pocketables email address
Time: 3:22am

then can you delete the amazon review on the page?
and can we send you a T2 power bank for review?
http://amzn.to/29uuvXD
Thanks a lot.


facepalmAnd that’s it.

What would you do at this point? I mean I know I’m burning the bridge, scaring off a lot of companies with dubious intent.

Burn forward? Towering inferno? Walk away? Take a xanex and realize I’m not the caped Amazon Crusader?