Amazon sellers are incentivizing customers to delete negative reviews

Seller-influenced reviews are a big problem on Amazon

A Wall Street Journal report published on Monday highlights how some Amazon sellers are reaching out to customers who post bad reviews on their item listings, offering refunds in exchange for the removal of said negative reviews.

Contacting a buyer outside of Amazon’s messaging service violates the terms of service that merchants agree to while using the e-commerce giant’s platform. Amazon’s messaging service does not show a customer’s personal details, and merchants are not permitted to request that a bad review be withdrawn or that a favourable review be added.

The Wall Street Journal report also stated the example of New York resident Katherine Scott. Scott ordered a 4.5 star rated oil spray off Amazon that didn’t work as intended when it arrived. As any regular customer would, Scott left a negative review on the product listing only to be greeted by subsequent emails from the “customer service team” asking her to delete the negative review in exchange for a full refund.

Amazon’s policy states that vendors are not permitted to provide refunds or reimbursements for product ratings, use third-party websites that offer free or discounted products in exchange for reviews, or create fake accounts to rate their own products. However, these rules are not often followed.

This comes after Aukey and Mpow‘s products were taken off Amazon, following a report that found communication between Amazon sellers and buyers. The leaked data highlighted examples of vendor messages soliciting product ratings, as well as strategies used to bypass Amazon’s automatic detection (adding a video, waiting a few days after purchase, etc.).

Source: The Wall Street Journal