Based on a study of customers using eBay in Germany, the study found among other results:
After an unsatisfactory purchase, many firms are quick to apologize to customers. It is, however, not clear why they should do that. As the apology is costless, it should be regarded as cheap talk and thus ignored by the customer. In this paper, we test in a controlled field experiment whether apologizing influences customers' subsequent behaviour. We find that apologizing yields much better outcomes for the firm than offering monetary compensation."
- "Customers who receive an apology instead of a monetary compensation are more than twice as likely to withdraw a (negative) evaluation."
- "When money is offered, a higher purchase price makes it less likely that a customer withdraws his (negative) evaluation. An apology works independent of the level of the purchase price."