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  1. #1
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    Brian somethings got to be done about this
    First of all I love SAS in general.

    BUT......

    Something has to be done about merchants being able to reverse sales at will. There NEEDS to be some way to PROOVE the reversal. (I don't propose to have the answer as to how to do this).

    Merchants can say a sale was canceled, merchandise returned, CC Fraud or any of the other Cryptic reason for the reversal and we have to take their word for it.

    One merchant that comes to mind is IVG Stores they seem to have way too many reversals and the owner Jon is terrible to deal with (I am dumping them by the way because of this) And if you look at their profile their 7 and 30 day reversal rates are 0 Total !

    I would also like to see actual numbers and not a % of Sales/Reversals for each merchant. Perhaps this could be a monthly value. E.g., Merchant X has had 500 total sales this month and 221 reversals. And maybe a trend for the Year as well.

    What is everyone else's opinion?

  2. #2
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Showing the number of sales generated for a merchant would probably be venturing a little too far into the territory of disclosing proprietary information to their competitors.
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  3. #3
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    I could probably see adding a yearly graph on that to see trend (although it has downsides as well) ... Unfortunately, we can't show the number of sales as it is info that Merchants wouldn't want us to have public.

    Regarding the overall process, I'm not sure that we would reasonably be able to review every void that came through, I think that would probably be overkill and would likely put too much pressure on the ShareASale team to determine what is valid, etc...

    There are a lot of situations where I can forsee not really being able to prove the void - and having angry Merchants

    I do understand the problem, but the other thing to remember is that the reversal rates being shown - along with forums such as ABW and Twitter and such - allow you to drop Merchants that you feel reverse too many sales. In the long term, that's a pretty good solution even if there are points at which a sale may be reversed that shouldn't be. Merchants really have no long term incentive to do this.

    If you truly feel that there has been abuse of voids (it does happen from time to time), please make me aware of the situation and I'll look into it with the Merchant and possibly try to either curb the behaviour or remove them if it is malicious.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager - Parenting Niche hermedia's Avatar
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    Brian,

    What about all reversals having to include an explanation (maybe a supplied check list- i.e. trademark violation violation of TOS, Merchant error (when merchants don't clear their own cookies then process a payment) and a way for affiliates to 'object' for say 3 days before the void is 'locked'.

    I know that I sort of feel the current 'reasons' don't define in enough detail when I generate a void. I would like a 'note area' to provide a better explanation to the affiliate when generating a void. Maybe the requirement of a written explanation that gets to the affiliate would help affiliates understand the void and increase a more harmonious merchant/ affiliate partner relationship

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager Electronic Cigarettes's Avatar
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    Its a part of business though. People return merchandise, there are charge backs, I would never go out of my way to refund an order just to claw back an affiliates sale?

  6. #6
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    I just had to reverse about 10 sales from an affiliate that violated our tos., ( who i also deleted as well)

    Plus we sometimes get duplicate sales and for my jewelry program returns

    Without this ability i think many merchants would have problems.

    When u do a void there is a drop down list where you choose the reason and i think it covers just about every situation but perhaps a blank where u fill in the reason if there is not one on the drop down

    Are affiliates than able to go in somewhere and see the reason the sales was voided??
    Richard
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  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Yes, we see which reason you chose.
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  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I would also like to see actual numbers and not a % of Sales/Reversals for each merchant. Perhaps this could be a monthly value. E.g., Merchant X has had 500 total sales this month and 221 reversals. And maybe a trend for the Year as well.
    There are actual graphed numbers visible in the interface via Java applet(I believe it is under "Trend") so you can see what numbers the % refers to. You can view dates of sales and amounts. These are good to check before you sign up if there are doubts about a program's performance.

  9. #9
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    When voiding a transaction - the Merchant does get a list of about 10 or so different options that are the most common. There is also an "Other" box... if the other box is chosen, there is a text area that pops up so that further explanation can be given.

    If the Merchant uses these features, it can definitely go a long way in helping the Affiliate understand and can better the Merchant/Affiliate relationship.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  10. #10
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Do affiliates see the "Other" text? Maybe merchants should be able to add extra detail no matter which of the options they choose? Not every merchant would use it, but some probably would.

    How about an option to get emails about voids and edits?
    Michael Coley
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  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager ParadigmWilliam's Avatar
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    I think a merchant should get so many reversals a month, after X number a SAS person will investigate and have to approve any further reversals.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParadigmWilliam View Post
    I think a merchant should get so many reversals a month, after X number a SAS person will investigate and have to approve any further reversals.
    <--- This would be a start. Another would be larger commission reversals (there seem to be more of these than smaller commission reversals Coincidence? I think not)

    It's not just the reason for the reversal - It's PROOF that it is a legitimate reversal.

  13. #13
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Janew,

    If there were to be proof - what proof would be sufficient? In order to have this feature we would first need to know what to request of a Merchant.

    My feeling here is that there is no easy document or proof that Merchants would be able to provide.

    Short of a signed letter from the customer that says "Yes I did cancel my order" ... I think we would be constantly coming up short on the proof...

    What would be sufficient proof for you if you had a reversal in your account? We can start from there and try to find a solution.


    @MichaelColey - there is an API report on Voids and Edits... Basically it returns all the voids or all the edits (two seperate calls) to you for a specific date... so you make a call to the API for Thursday Voids, and it sends those to you. On the "other" text, yes Affiliates see that in the reports.

    @ParadigmWilliam I'd have to disagree on this because there is no reasonable way of determining how many voids are "reasonable". For example, it can't be done on volume obviously because some Merchants do much more volume than others. I'd argue that it also can't be done on percentage as every industry has its own reasonable reversal rate. We'd have to set the % so high that it wouldn't be worth it.

    I can tell you that if a Merchant has high reversals - we hear about it and look into it to check for abuse. That is the goal behind our providing as much information as we do to you all... When you (collectively) see that information and feel it is out of whack, generally we hear about it from more than one individual.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  14. #14
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    Brian,

    If you read my 1st message:

    "Something has to be done about merchants being able to reverse sales at will. There NEEDS to be some way to PROOVE the reversal. (I don't propose to have the answer as to how to do this)."

    You guys are the experts.

  15. #15
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    They are the experts. And they're saying there's no efficient way to prove it. Which sucks.

    But as a merchant myself, I can say that reversals are pretty rare for us, but that it varies widely by vertical.

    I think Zappos used to have a 35% + reversal rate or something crazy like that. They would have to hire someone to sit in their affiliate interface and validate all those every time someone bought more than they wanted, or bought the wrong size?

    Believe me, I don't like getting screwed over either. I hated it as an affiliate.

    I think though that the real leverage in this equation is... you. At the end of the day, you're the only one you can trust 100% anyhow, right?
    Last edited by Kevin; September 30th, 2010 at 01:09 PM.
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  16. #16
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    @janew,

    I understand - and I can handle all the technical side of things and how to ask/upload/provide proof...

    What I'm asking is ... what is proof to you? What would be sufficient.

    There are a few things I can think of such as copies of the refund receipts, screenshots of order cancellations or customer requests to cancel, things along those lines...

    What i'm trying to zero in on is what - if anything - sufficiently proves to an Affiliate that the Merchant is justified in their voiding of an order.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  17. #17
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Brian: To your point, and as you well know, it can be quite some time before a merchant even has "real proof" of the reversal. Disputes can take time, etc. In fact, i'm trying to think of something that I could even show from my merchant account that isn't personally identifiable that would solve this matter.

    @Janew: Our money disappears well before we have a real grasp of the problem, etc.
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  18. #18
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    @Kevin - Yup I understand all that... I was just trying to start at Point A and try to work forward from there.

    If we were going to provide proof of a reversal.... I would first have to figure out what proof would be sufficient to everyone. Once we figure that out, we can work forward to see if it is reasonable/possible/etc... but we can't go anywhere without first figuring out what we are trying to do.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  19. #19
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I know you do. My post was directed at YOU, but not AT you, if you catch my drift.
    Kevin Webster
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  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Sometimes proof isn't that easy. What about a merchant who issues exclusive coupons, and only pays the affiliate to whom they were issued, and the coupon shows up on another coupon site and gets sales?

    The affiliate can always ask for an explanation if one isn't provided. I think the merchant would do well to provide an explanation, especially first time reversals, large reversals or mass reversals.

    Affiliates don't have control over why reversals are done but do have control over which programs to join and which ones to drop. If you can't trust the merchant, do you want to work with them anyway?
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  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Spotted this post, am going a lil off topic but something said has confused me a lil.
    Greg
    When you say "exclusive coupons" I think you're referring to an affiliate receiving a coupon just for their site, like one that might say purplebear. (but it's not a special link, just a code for that affiliate that another affiliate doesn't have.)

    Are you saying that you have a way to know that if a sale happens from an affiliate (one of those affiliates who lists coupon codes that are from other sites, those codes that are supposed to be exclusive to an affiliate) you know that the coupon code that was used was not that affiliate who got the sale? .....and if that is what you're saying.....you are saying you would reverse that sale and give the sale to the affiliate who had the exclusive coupon?

    If that were the case, there should be a lil star next to the program so the affiliate knows that affiliate manager does that. Am only kidding, (I know that would mean more work, but would love to see it done) but affiliates would definitely love you or any other affiliate manager who does that.


    ooops forgot.....am sorry, moderator please delete this if you want for going off topic and everybody else please go back to what you were discussing.
    Last edited by purplebear; September 30th, 2010 at 04:09 PM.

  22. #22
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    Purplebear, we can do that with our merchants as well. And yes, that would show as a reversal for the affiliate that had the coupon they shouldn't have posted. It will show as a sale for the correct affiliate, but there isn't a way to show that in the reversal statistics. There also isn't a way to show in the statistics that there was a hiccup and several sales posted for one transaction. There also isn't a way to show there were 50 sales from an affiliate breaking the TOS shows us with high reversals. We can leave a note for that affiliate, we can post here at ABW (which we have) but I can't post something visible to the affiliates in general within Shareasale.
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  23. #23
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    A network audit of merchants reversals quarterly when a merchant reversal rate exceeds 10% will be a good start for me as an assurance that the merchant is not committing some sort of fraud!

  24. #24
    Affiliate Manager Steven.C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post
    There also isn't a way to show there were 50 sales from an affiliate breaking the TOS shows us with high reversals. We can leave a note for that affiliate, we can post here at ABW (which we have) but I can't post something visible to the affiliates in general within Shareasale.
    I was thinking just this. What would be there to help explain to affiliates why a merchant may temporarily have a high reversal rate if one or a few affiliates violated the TOS and a large amount of sales were reversed at once.
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  25. #25
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    We also send out an affiliate newsletter if it is something like that, but not all affiliates read all their newsletters.

    janew I hear your frustration, but sometimes there are a large number of reversals for a lot of very good reasons. Throttling merchants from being able to make those reversals would be an extra burden on everyone.

    As Brian said, proof is going to be "in the eye of the beholder".
    Deborah Carney
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