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Amazon pulls down a five-star fraud in the UK

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Amazon top reviewers in the UK seem to have been engaged in fraud. Placing a whole lot of five-star ratings in an interchange for free products or for money. According to an investigation by the Financial Times, Amazon pulled down up to 20,000 product reviews.

Following a report from the FT’s analysis:

The number one Amazon review in the United Kingdom, Justin Fryer, drops a five-star rating once in every 4 hours on average last month. Most of these reviews were basically for products from random companies by the Chinese. It seems like Fryer has resold those products on eBay.

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So many scams like these usually begin on social networks, as well as messaging apps. Just like Telegram, where companies can meet up with reviewers with prospects. The reviewers now pick a free product. Then waits for some days before writing a five-star review, once the connection is made.

Once the review is posted, they all receive a complete refund, and, most times, an additional payment.

Amazon has a particular rule against posting reviews

Amazon has placed a particular rule against placing reviews. In an interchange for “compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products) or on behalf of anyone else”.

However, nine out of the top 10 reviewers in the UK seem to have gone against the rules. Whilst, participating fully in dubious activities. The 20,000 reviews that were withdrawn were all written by seven out of the 10 top reviewers.

The company was notified of Justin Fryer’s activity at the beginning of August. At least one out of those making use of Amazon announced the questionable ratings of the man to Jeff Bezos, the CEO. This user was informed that the company would look into it, however, it never took action till today.

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Fryer said that he was not paid any money to place fake five-star ratings. Also, he mentioned that his eBay listings for both “unused” and “unopened” products were added. This was according to a report from the Times.

Anyways, his activity is not really flabbergasting. For years now, fake reviews have been a problem on Amazon. Two months ago, The Markup noticed that sellers were involved in different kinds of strategies. With the aim of controlling their ratings on the platform.

Not excluding “review hijacking” where previous ratings were linked to current ratings, often products that are not related.

The outbreak of the Coronavirus – Fakespot CEO’s comment to the Financial Times

During the rampant outbreak of the coronavirus, when so many people shop online, the problem has only become worse.

Fakespot CEO’s comment concerning Amazon:

A report from a firm that  inspects rating fraud, Fakespot says:

As of May, 58 percent of the products on Amazon in the United Kingdom seem to post fake reviews.

The CEO of Fakespot, Saoud Khalifah  also mentioned something to the Financial Times. Khalifah said:

“The scale of this fraud is amazing. Amazon UK has a much higher percentage of fake reviews than the other platforms”.

Also, in a text sent to The Verge, a spokesperson of Amazon mentioned that Amazon examines all reviews. Before they get to the audience, going through 10 million submissions every week. They said:

“We want Amazon customers to shop with confidence knowing that the reviews they read are authentic and relevant”.

They also mentioned:

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“We have clear policies for both reviewers and selling partners that prohibit abuse of our community features. And we suspend, ban, and take legal action against those who violate these policies”.