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Third-party Amazon sellers are reportedly bribing customers who leave bad product reviews

Have you ever been approached after leaving a negative review on Amazon?

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Image: KnowTechie

Amazon reviews are under fire again. The latest episode in this saga involves third-party sellers pestering customers who leave bad reviews about their products.

Basically, anytime a buyer leaves a negative review on the site, sellers will sometimes try to bribe shoppers to remove the review or change it into a good one, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal

The report describes a story about Katherine Scott, who posted a negative review about an oil spray bottle for cooking that didn’t live up to the product description. After the review went live, a third-party seller reached out offering Scott a refund if she deleted the review. Here’s an excerpt from WSJ’s reporting: 

“Ms. Scott asked for a refund but didn’t want to delete her review. Another representative reached out the next day and declined to issue her refund. “A bad review is a fatal blow to us,” read the email. “Could you help me delete the review? If you can, I want to refund $20 to you to express my gratitude.” (This was twice what Ms. Scott paid.) A few hours later, she received another plea from the same email address.”

Amazon sellers are not supposed to be able to email buyers directly outside of the platform. The company tells WSJ that it does not share customer email addresses with third-party sellers.

This isn’t stopping them from finding ways to get in touch with buyers that leave bad reviews, obviously. As Gizmodo points out, services like ZonBoost openly advertise their “Reviewer Lookup” tool, which isn’t helping Amazon stop companies from emailing customers.

So what happens if one of these sellers tries hounding you into changing your review? According to an Amazon spokesperson (via WSJ), customers can report them by emailing or click the “Report Abuse” link on the review page.

Read the full WSJ report for additional tips on how to further protect yourself from being emailed by one of these sellers.

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