In December 2020, Which? signed up to 10 sites offering Amazon review manipulation services, including free or discounted products in exchange for reviews, or sales campaigns for sellers to boost their positive reviews.
Distressingly, but unsurprisingly, Which? found Amazon review manipulation services with:
- 702,000 product reviewers across just five businesses
- One site claiming to have processed $8.9m of refunds for reviews it had organised on Amazon
- Review campaigns claiming to be able to achieve ‘Amazon’s Choice’ status on products in just 10-14 days
- One site selling contact and social media details for Amazon reviewers
Amazon are no fans of review manipulation services and say that they have taken dozens of injunctions against providers of fake reviews across Europe. The truth however is that Amazon are the biggest ever sales generation platform and the stakes are so high that some underhand merchants will jump at the opportunity to use Amazon review manipulation services if their returns justify the spend… and the spend can be as high as £8000 for 1,000 reviews on a single product.
Amazon told Which? that it has clear policies for both reviewers and selling partners that prohibit abuse of its community features, and that it suspends, bans, and takes legal action against those who violate these policies and analyses more than 10m reviews weekly.
“To protect consumers from being misled, Which? is calling for swift and effective action that puts a stop to sites that are trading, or facilitating the trading of, fake reviews, a practice which is likely to be in breach of consumer law.
Online platforms, including Amazon, must also do more to proactively prevent fake reviews infiltrating their sites. This includes working with other tech firms where these fake review firms and groups thrive, to shut them down.”
“Fake reviews are a blight that stop consumers getting a fair deal. We are determined to do all we can to stamp it out and will examine any new evidence.
Thanks to our intervention, Facebook, Instagram and eBay have already committed to tackle the trade of such reviews on their sites and we’re not stopping there. We are also separately investigating several major websites to make sure they are protecting people from fake reviews.”
– Competition and Markets Authority spokesperson