As you know, thanks to your hard work, the empowr economy has grown 100 times larger in the last few months.
Along with 100 times more earnings for sellers, and 100 times more purchases for buyers, this growth has also, naturally, meant 100 times more disputes.
The dispute process has been frustrating for everyone
We’ve heard your frustrations - and our engineers have now launched an entirely new dispute system.
When should you dispute a transaction?
While the empowr dispute system is in place to help mediate any sale made on empowr, it's important to realize that filing a marketplace dispute should be a last resort – after you’ve done everything in your power to ensure a successful transaction.
Of course some situations are unavoidable, and in those cases a dispute must be made.
But as a buyer, or seller, you should always do your best to communicate with the other party first, to see if you can remedy the situation to the satisfaction of both parties…
… and provide each other with a strong (5 star) rating.
As a reminder, Ratings about about to become everything in empowr.
Only after you’ve exhausted your ability to reach a conclusion with the buyer or seller:
As a buyer, you should dispute a transaction when:
• the seller has failed to ship the product (or provide the service) to you within the agreed upon amount of time, but you still would like the product or service
• the seller shipped a product (or provided a service) that was not as described and you'd like a refund
• the seller will not fulfill delivery of the product or service and you'd like to cancel your order
As a seller, you should dispute the transaction when:
• you have successfully delivered the product or service and want to be paid for it, but the buyer has failed to mark the item as “Item Received”.
• you cannot successfully deliver the product or service for whatever reason, and want to cancel the sale
How does the process work?
Every empowr citizen has the right to dispute marketplace transactions (as a buyer or seller) if they are not satisfied with the outcome of a sale.
Once you've determined that a dispute is necessary, you’ll need to visit the “Marketplace” tab, and go to your I’ve Bought page (if you’re the buyer) or the I’ve Sold page (if you’re the seller):
Note: If you’re using the empowr Android app, click “menu” in the navigation bar, and under the “More Features” section, click “I’ve Bought” or “I’ve Sold
From there, locate the purchase that you want to dispute, and choose “Dispute this transaction” in the “Actions” dropdown menu.
To initiate a dispute, you must wait at least 72 hours after the product or service was paid for. This is to ensure that both the buyer and seller have enough time to communicate and come to a resolution on their own before disputing.
Should you attempt to begin a dispute prior to 72 hours after the payment date, you will be shown the current status of the item, and how much time remains until you can begin the dispute.
From there, you must select a reason for the dispute from a dropdown menu:
Dispute reasons for buyers:
•Item not received: I still want the item
•Item not received: I want a refund
•Item received: Refund (Doesn't match description)
As the initiator of the dispute, you should only provide information that relates directly to the dispute; information that may help with resolving the case quickly and correctly.
Once a transaction has been disputed, an inbox message is sent to all parties involved, including the buyer, the seller, the buyer's Success Coach, the seller's Success Coach and an empowr representative.
Your Success Coach’s Role
Upon submitting the dispute, both the buyer and seller will have the opportunity to add details regarding the transaction and why they feel they should win the dispute.
During this process, the buyer’s Success Coach and the seller’s Success Coach are responsible for reaching a decision based on the information presented before them.
Each coach will then make their final decision regarding the dispute – siding with the seller or the buyer.
In order for a final judgement to be made, both Success Coaches must agree on the same outcome.
In the event that both coaches do not agree on a final decision (or if a decision is not made by both coaches within a week or less), the case will be escalated to a top-level Judge who will make the final decision.
And that’s all there is to it – with a more streamlined dispute process, you should have be able to resolve any issues you come across in as little as 24 hours.
Democracy and the Judge
For now, May Ram, the leader of the SC program, along with several empowr representatives are acting as the Judges, residing over disputes when the two Success Coaches cannot agree on an outcome.
Soon, the judge will be an elected position, where you, using your democratic vote, will elect the judges locally, so that our community will have the final say in the judicial process.
As you may remember, you have asked us to complete a series of improvements (which we are starting to roll out now) before turning our focus to installing all the democratic mechanisms that will accelerate empowr down the path towards a true democracy.
Before we leave, I’d like to provide you with a few tips on how to avoid disputes:
As a seller, always do your best to:
•Make sure your listing information is as accurate as possible
•Ship your item as quickly as possible
•Communicate with your buyer throughout the transaction process
•Provide tracking information
As a buyer, always do your best to:
•Always read product and service descriptions before bidding or purchasing
•Only bid or purchase items that you actually want or intend to purchase
•Communicate with the seller throughout the transaction process
•Mark the product or service as “Item Received” or “Service Received”
As I mentioned in my last last post, Ratings are about to become EVERYTHING in empowr
You should be doing everything you can, to bend over backwards for your customers, in order to achieve and maintain a 5.0 rating.
By doing that, you, your profile and your products and services will be seen many times more in the marketplace and feed stories.
And as a customer, you should be doing everything possible to make the sellers, providers, sharers and transporters super-happy as a result of working with you.
Why? Soon, buyers with anything but a steller rating will be blocked out of many, most or virtually all marketplace opportunities.
It should be our common goal to ensure every transaction on empowr results in a positive experience for everyone.
In the rare times when that doesn’t happen, we want to make sure disputes are resolved as quickly and fairly as possible.
With the new dispute process now in place, you can expect the resolution time for disputes to drop significantly, to as little as 24-48 hours.
Indeed, now that the new process is live, we’ve already seen the average resolution time drop from 25 days, to less than 2 days.
Now, let’s all focus on SUCCESSFULLY buying and selling products and services from one another in the marketplace.
P.S. For everyone that is asking what to do with previously created disputes, a software update will be released within the next 6-12 hours that will allow you to resubmit those disputes in the new system for a much faster resolution.
Thank you for your comments! Stay tuned for an update after the release is live.
UPDATE (4/19/17): We've experienced a delay in the software update release. We apologize for any inconvenience. The update will be released within 12-24 hours. Once the software update occurs, you'll be able to re-dispute previously disputed transactions. Thank you for your patience!