If You See This on an Amazon Listing, Don't Buy That Product, Experts Warn
This is what you should be on the lookout for when shopping on Amazon.
Amazon has an overwhelming number of options for every kind of product you can imagine, which means you can spend hours comparing and contrasting Amazon to make sure you get the best bang for your buck. Unfortunately, with so many products being sold on one site, it's also very easy to get stuck with a product that doesn't have the quality you were expecting or worse yet, you could get completely ripped off. In order to make sure that doesn't happen, there's one particular thing you need to look out for on any Amazon listing before pressing "Add to Cart." Read on to find out how to know which Amazon products you should never buy.
Check Amazon listings for the tell-tale signs of fake reviews.
When buying something on Amazon, many users will turn to the reviews to see what other buyers have to say. Unfortunately, plenty of reviews may not be authentic, according to ReviewMeta, an Amazon review checker that monitors product listings for inauthentic reviews.
ReviewMeta notes on their site that a "significant portion of the Amazon reviews and ratings you see are not from legitimate, typical shoppers like you. Many of the reviews are biased (from family/friends of the seller), incentivized (the seller gave the reviewer a huge discount or kick-back or even gave them the product for free) or otherwise unnatural."
"Despite Amazon's best efforts, Amazon sellers have found all kinds of ways to 'game the system' to artificially inflate their products' ratings (and also to artificially lower their competitors' ratings)," ReviewMeta states.
There was recently a review scam involving millions of vendors and shoppers on Amazon.
Safety Detectives, a cyber security website, found and exposed "an organized fake reviews scam affecting Amazon" in May. According to the cyber security experts, more than 13 million records of direct messages between Amazon vendors and customers willing to provide fake reviews in exchange for free products were uncovered.
The scam involved vendors sending customers a list of products to leave five-star reviews on. The customers would buy the products, leave inauthentic five-star reviews, and then receive a PayPal refund while still getting to keep the product.
"Once the Amazon vendor confirms all reviews have been completed, the reviewer will receive a refund through PayPal, keeping the items they bought for free as a form of payment," Safety Detectives explains. "The refund for any purchased goods is actioned through PayPal and not directly through Amazon's platform. This makes the five-star review look legitimate, so as not to arouse suspicion from Amazon moderators."
There are several ways you can tell that a product's reviews are fake.
There are plenty of ways to gauge which reviews are genuine and which are not. According to Safety Detectives, you should be wary of products that have a lot of positive reviews that use less emotional language or include irrelevant information.
"If a product's five-star reviews have been posted before the product was listed, or over a short time-span, they could well be fake," the experts at Safety Detectives add. "Several of the five-star reviews may highlight the same plus points, or the reviews could generally lack variance—not revealing anything about each individual's specific experience. Fake reviews might contain lots of generic keywords, too, or reference the brand's name multiple times."
Amazon says it's working to combat fake reviews.
Amazon says it is working to cut back on fake reviews, so that "customers trust that they can shop with confidence." The company says that any attempt to manipulate reviews, either directly or indirectly, is not allowed on the website. Amazon will immediately suspend or terminate privileges if a buyer or seller has been caught attempting to manipulate reviews or violate these guidelines in any way.
If you think you have come across any fake reviews, Amazon asks that you report it. "We encourage anyone who suspects that review manipulation is taking place or that our guidelines are being violated in any other manner to notify us," the company states. "We will investigate the concern thoroughly and take any appropriate actions."