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  1. #1
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    CJ lets Overstock debit accounts for commission already paid!
    Apparently, if a merchant believes people were "overcommissioned" because of an error on THEIR part, they can get CJ to bulk-debit the difference from the affected affiliate accounts, even if the orders were locked and paid months ago.

    Anyone ever heard of this before? This was news to me ... !

  2. #2
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    I think something like that was discussed a year or so ago. Not nice, no.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    I got hit by this last night too, in a big way. My take is that if they publish SKU level commission rates via the Commission Junction interface, and we market based on this information, then it is a done deal.

    Going back after the fact, saying, "Sorry, we made a mistake", and yanking back a LARGE amount of money from sales that took place over three months ago, doesn't even feel legal.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    Going back after the fact, saying, "Sorry, we made a mistake", and yanking back a LARGE amount of money from sales that took place over three months ago, doesn't even feel legal.
    I've no experience with this problem but it's pretty touchy.
    I've mixed feeling. A merchant has a certain period to clear this kind of things. It should be part of the agreement. After that period. Too bad.
    Taking back money earned several months ago should not be allowed without the agreement of the affiliate.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Commission rates should be locked in stone. The fact that a merchant mis-categorized a SKU is not my problem....

    Business relationships should be based on trust. Actions like this undermine that trust and lead to passive aggressive business interactions.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  6. #6
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    Commission rates should be locked in stone. The fact that a merchant mis-categorized a SKU is not my problem....

    Business relationships should be based on trust. Actions like this undermine that trust and lead to passive aggressive business interactions.
    Trust is great, but business relationships ARE based on contracted terms. And unless the merchant has specifically stated in their terms that they reserve the right to make charge-backs after a specific period of time the network should not allow it. But then we're right back to the issue of networks offering no protection to affiliates what so ever.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    But then we're right back to the issue of networks offering no protection to affiliates what so ever.
    This is how I felt after I read the e-mail announcement. No protection what-so-ever.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  8. #8
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    @isellstuff, it sounds like we both got the same letter.

    The fact that a merchant mis-categorized a SKU is not my problem....
    Exactly how I felt - and it's not like they had no time to rectify it in the normal process. If you're not going to respect the normal and agreed-upon cutoffs, where does it end? A quarter? Six months? A year?

    I have to wonder, if I were no longer part of CJ's network would there be someone knocking at my front door asking for a check? On that same line of thought, what ABOUT affiliates who may have since dropped the network? No way to take back THEIR earnings, how is that fair to the rest of us?

    Business relationships should be based on trust. Actions like this undermine that trust
    Yeah, I'm not feeling much trust myself right now ... I kind of feel like my pockets are being picked.

    actually, I wonder if it actually IS legal? Per CJ Program Terms

    (b) Charge-backs. An Advertiser may apply, or CJ may apply, a debit to Your Account in an amount equal to a Payout previously credited to Your Account in circumstances of : (i) product returns; (ii) duplicate entry or other clear error; (iii) non-bona fide Transactions; (iv) non-receipt of payment from, or refund of payment to, the Visitor by the Advertiser; or (v) Publisher failure to comply with Advertiser's Program terms or other agreement with Advertiser ("Charge-back"). Charge-backs may be applied to Your Account at any time, including previous payment cycles.
    I'm assuming they're claiming "other clear error?"
    Last edited by maregee; February 8th, 2011 at 02:23 PM. Reason: added program terms quote

  9. #9
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maregee View Post
    (and I wonder if it actually IS legal???)
    The legalities aren't really at issue as long as CJ allows it, unless you're willing to take the merchant to court. If the amount is substantial enough that may be a viable option.

    At the very least, I think it's time for you guys to name the merchant as a warning to other affiliates. It's possible that if more affiliates come forward with the same issue with the same merchant that this will appear more as a revenue grab than an honest mistake.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  10. #10
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    It's Overstock.

    I got the "Overpaid Commissions" email notice today. It's totally wrong. CJ souldn't allow this BS happen at all.

    Dear xxxxxxxx,

    We regret to inform you that Overstock.com experienced some issues in Q4 concerning SKU categorization in the product catalog that resulted in inaccurate commissioning for a subset of your Overstock.com orders, some of which could already be locked or closed. Through a detailed analysis of the proper commissions and commissions actually posted, we have come to the conclusion that you have been overpaid by $. Due to the nature of the miscalculations, the orders, regardless of status (new, locked, or closed), cannot be adjusted on the order level. Therefore, Commission Junction (as an exception to this unique situation) will be debiting your Commission Junction account for the amount overpaid in one lump sum and crediting that amount back to Overstock.com. We have not included a detailed report of your affected orders in this message, however a report of your affected orders can be available upon request should you need this information.

    Please expect to see a debit of $ posted to your account by end of week.

    We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you and appreciate your cooperation as we work to rectify these miscalculations we have already put several measures in place to mitigate this issue going forward. You are a valued partner and we are open to any questions, concerns, and/or feedback regarding this situation.

    Thank you in advance for your understanding!

    The Overstock.com Affiliate Team

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayfly View Post
    We have not included a detailed report of your affected orders in this message, however a report of your affected orders can be available upon request should you need this information.
    If I were you I'd ask for this report. If they're going to take your money then at least they'll have to do some work for it.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphawave View Post
    If I were you I'd ask for this report. If they're going to take your money then at least they'll have to do some work for it.
    A good point... Let the passive aggressive relationship begin :-)
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    that stinks....so what kind of errors are we talking about? 20% instead of 2%? something crazy?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphawave View Post
    If I were you I'd ask for this report. If they're going to take your money then at least they'll have to do some work for it.
    Not only I'm asking for the detail report, I will question CJ about this as well. I hope those who've received the email will do the same. At least let CJ know our concern.

    Maregee, would you like to ask a Mod to rename your thread title to "Overstock..." so other O affiliates will notice the issue?

  15. #15
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    If I were you I'd ask for this report. If they're going to take your money then at least they'll have to do some work for it.
    I was thinking the very same thing.

    that stinks....so what kind of errors are we talking about? 20% instead of 2%? something crazy?
    I follow my reports closely - there was nothing that stood out to me at the time as being an unusually high amount. More like 7% instead of 5%.

    Maregee, would you like to ask a Mod to rename your thread title to "Overstock..." so other O affiliates will notice the issue?
    Sure - if any mods are reading this, please feel free to do so. (Sorry - I'm noob-ish here and not sure how to contact a mod directly on this forum.)
    Last edited by maregee; February 8th, 2011 at 03:18 PM.

  16. #16
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphawave View Post
    If I were you I'd ask for this report. If they're going to take your money then at least they'll have to do some work for it.
    You may also want to ask them where in their TOS you agreed to open ended charge backs.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by superCool View Post
    that stinks....so what kind of errors are we talking about? 20% instead of 2%? something crazy?
    Mine is about 25% of my Q4 total. Since it is the issue of their "SKU categorization in the product catalog", I guess everybody's % will be different.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayfly View Post
    Mine is about 25% of my Q4 total. Since it is the issue of their "SKU categorization in the product catalog", I guess everybody's % will be different.
    Now that is very interesting. Mine is exactly 25% of my Q4 total.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  19. #19
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    It is concerns such as this that affiliates need to band together to address.

    A charge back to an affiliate after commissions have been paid are truly unacceptable. All Networks and Merchants need to have a lock date - period. Part of the responsibility of the merchant is to pay attention to their affiliate program and all the fine details it entails.

    Affiliate traffic has been sent > Merchant gets sale > Affiliate earns commission > Lock date has been met / changes are no longer possible > Affiliate gets paid > End of transaction.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  20. #20
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    Just checked - 26.86% of mine.

  21. #21
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Wow, the percentages sound too close to be a coincidence. It sounds more like they were 25% over budget for the 4th quarter.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  22. #22
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    Wow, the percentages sound too close to be a coincidence.
    If a merchant runs promotions on a SKUs that are not properly categorized and affiliates promote those items then logically the percentage of charge backs would be in a similar range.

    Easy to start feeling uneasy with a merchant when they do that...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  23. #23
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    If a merchant runs promotions on a SKUs that are not properly categorized and affiliates promote those items then logically the percentage of charge backs would be in a similar range.
    That would assume that all affiliates sold a similar mix of products unless ALL products were mis-categorized.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  24. #24
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    If I compare my commission to my total sale amount for that period, it's right around 5% - which is the currently-published commission tier for what I promote.

    If I had been mistakenly been paid 7%, then their numbers would make some sense. If my math is correct, 5 is 71.4% of 7, so a correction would cut 28.6% off the original amount. But that doesn't appear to be the case.

    These numbers don't add up.
    Last edited by maregee; February 8th, 2011 at 04:08 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    It is concerns such as this that affiliates need to band together to address.

    A charge back to an affiliate after commissions have been paid are truly unacceptable. All Networks and Merchants need to have a lock date - period. Part of the responsibility of the merchant is to pay attention to their affiliate program and all the fine details it entails.

    Affiliate traffic has been sent > Merchant gets sale > Affiliate earns commission > Lock date has been met / changes are no longer possible > Affiliate gets paid > End of transaction.
    Exactly!

    The percentage doesn't matter. What matters is the bad pratice for both the merchant and the network(in this case, Overstock and CJ).

    Basically, any merchant can go to CJ and say: "We've screwed up our SKU categorization in 2005, now I want you debit the affiliate commission back." So, where is the end?
    Last edited by mayfly; February 8th, 2011 at 04:21 PM.

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