Amazon recently caught its top reviewers in the UK involved in a fraud. Around 20,000 reviews were removed from the amazon website after an investigation. Evidence was found where thousands of reviews were made in exchange for money. Nine out of the UK’s top 10 reviewers were suspected of fraudulent activities.
Sellers usually with fake, below standard products, offer people to buy their product and offer them a refund, in some cases a commission in return of a 5-star review on their product.
According to the investigation by Financial Times, scams like these usually start on networking apps where companies come across potential reviewers. Like on Telegram, multiple groups were found where chatbots offer reviewers a range of free products they could choose for reviewing and get paid.
The number 1 reviewer of Amazon in the UK, Justin Fryer, averaged an Amazon review every 4 hours. Only in August, he reviewed products worth £15,000, including smartphones, scooters, gym equipment, etc. It was no surprise that these products were from small Chinese brands, who usually look for people to give them reviews in exchange for money. The details of Mr. Fryer’s activities only make the fraud more obvious while he keeps calling all the claims’ false’.
Fryer has told Financial Times that he has good relations with most of the sellers in China and many businesses over there, which he reviews. He posted video reviews unboxing some of the products which were later found listed on eBay as unopened. Since June, Justin Fryer has re-sold many goods with a worth of around £20,000 on eBay.
Since early August, the company was aware of Mr. Fryer’s activities when a user directly emailed Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon, due to the severity of fraud.
These fraudulent activities on Amazon have lasted for a long time and continues to be one of the platform’s biggest problems. These activities increased with a rise in the use of Amazon services because of the COVID lockdown.
Amazon states they analyze reviews before they go public, giving them 10 million review submissions to deal with every week. According to Amazon’s community policies, it is strictly prohibited to post reviews for compensation, even for discounted or free products.
The company says it bans and sues people that violate its policies. Amazon’s algorithms push products up on the list and help achieve endorsements like “Amazon’s choice” badge, where reviews play a big part along with price and delivery time. We want Amazon customers to shop with confidence, knowing that the reviews they read are authentic and relevant,” the company said.
Fakespot, a firm that identifies and analyzes rating fraud, reported 58% of Amazon’s products had fake reviews in the UK in May. It considers Amazon has a much higher percentage of fake reviews than any other platform. While Amazon has strict punishments for people engaging in fake reviews and similar activities, they are yet to look for a solution to keep this from happening.
Featured image: Amazon