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A Bad Review Experience, Resulting in a Policy Change

I am willing to review any ukulele, from any company. While most of the ukuleles I see are likely made in the same three or four factories in China, I don’t know where any of them come from, and it is fun to see how the small details make differences in the playability and sound of various instruments. Sometimes, there is little difference, and sometimes the difference is amazing.

I am often contacted by companies that want me to review a ukulele—which I am happy to do. I buy the ukulele and they reimburse me for close to the full amount (there are always PayPal fees). However, they generally do not put any terms on a review.

Some companies do place terms, such as Lava, which asked me to write a blog post about their company. I was happy to do that, and it was interesting to learn more about their company.

I recently had a bad experience with a company which I have reviewed a few times on my YouTube channel. After reviewing the instrument, I was asked to write an Amazon review for the ukulele. This is something that has not happened much, as this is against the terms of Amazon. But, I wrote a review, and even made a second video reinforcing the good points and flaws of the instrument. And it received a rating of 4/5.

When the review was published, I let the company know, and they did not respond—and then I had to reach out again. They replied that they would refund the amount of the ukulele when I changed the review to a 5/5.

I shouldn’t have written the Amazon review, and I’m not going to change the rating. Even a 4/5 (on Amazon) was a bit of a gift knowing how shoppers look at scores…it probably should have been a 3/5.

So, as of today, I am changing a couple of policies. Here they are:

1) I will no longer write reviews on Amazon, unless it is a product that I bought myself on my own volition, and feel like writing about it.

2) I will no longer accept “repayment” for a ukulele. Companies can send me a ukulele, which I am happy to review. They can let me keep it (it will eventually be sold or given away), or they can request it back after the review if they want to provide a return shipping label.

No, I will not name the company. I did write another contact I know in the company and explain the situation. I might personally buy other models of their ukuleles and review them. But I will not write Amazon reviews for companies or accept repayment any longer. That might limit my ability to review some ukuleles…and if that is the case, it is going to have to be okay. I don’t claim to be an unbiased reviewer, but I try to be honest, fair, and kind. I’m forging ahead with those values.

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