Receiving mysterious Amazon packages is a reviews scam

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A couple in the US have been receiving Amazon packages for items they don’t want and haven’t ordered. It’s been going on since last October and they’ve gone public with the aim of getting Amazon to take notice and act. Whilst getting free stuff directly to your home might sound quite advantageous, the reason behind it is nefarious.

Here’s how it works. A person opens an account in a real person’s name and using their accurate address and starts buying stuff and having it sent to them, paying by gift card to make the perpetrator very difficult to track down. Then the Amazon packages are successfully delivered and tracked, all monitored by Amazon who can confirm that the transaction is complete. This means that the account in the recipient’s name, controlled by someone else, has the right to leave a product review.

You can see the couple and the stuff that’s been coming through the mail and hear more about the problem in a video on this page. In this case the items exclusively originate from China.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said:

“We are investigating inquiries from consumers who have received unsolicited packages as this would violate our policies. We have confirmed the sellers involved did not receive names or shipping addresses from Amazon. We remove sellers in violation of our policies, withhold payments, and work with law enforcement to take appropriate action.”

It’s testament to the value sellers place on buyer reviews in the marketplace because it adds up to greater prominence and hopefully sales. Amazon has cracked down on phoney reviews and those acquired through sweeteners and freebies. But this new way to garner positive reviews just goes to show the lengths that some sellers, or people acting on their behalf, will go to get the advantage.

If you receive something that you didn’t order on Amazon, the best advice is to get in touch with them and explain. Although it’s not clear that they will act, it will at least enable them to gauge the size of the problem.

Has this happened to anyone in the UK?

4 Responses

  1. we received a package we did not order correctly addressed to our company address though the personal name was no one we know of ,or who works here

    it contained garden bulbs,
    no paperwork or senders name
    we wonder if the above may be the reason

  2. How do they set the account up after the item has been delivered and give the product a review? Surely they must set the account up first.

    Amazon investigate something that will stop them earning a commission, highly unlikely to happen quickly.

    I have several false RRP support tickets that have not been dealt with for months, people see a higher RRP than it should be and t6hink they are getting the item at a discount.

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