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  • Writer's pictureCraig Gedey

Is your Amazon account being subjected to fake one-star reviews?

Calls are being made for Amazon to investigate the growing trend of fake one-star reviews that target rival Sellers.

Leading consumer rights champion ‘Which?’ has called for the online reviews investigation launched by the Competition and Markets Authority in England in May to be extended to include negative review manipulation. It comes as the BBC published an article citing several Sellers who believe they have been subjected to the practise by rivals.

One of those was Janson Smith, who decided to look into why his account was suddenly receiving one-star reviews. He discovered that almost all had come from suspicious accounts, and managed to get Amazon to removes them. He has since set up consultancy to help other businesses in the same situation.

Smith told the BBC: ”I think that now sellers have realised it's very hard to fake getting four-star or five-star reviews. So they're like 'hang on let's now bring the competition down so that our score is relatively higher’.

“The sad thing is that you could have 50 positive reviews, like five-star reviews - but if you've got one or two one-star reviews, then it's going to be very difficult to compete.

“I do genuinely think that Amazon does as good a job as it can, but I think it's a bit of a cat-and-mouse game. Amazon’s one step behind, and they're always playing catch-up.”

Another victim of the practise quoted was Ella Keyes, who closed her post-pregnancy products business after it was bombarded by negative reviews having previously been almost all positive.

She told the BBC: “Initially when the first couple came it didn't make too much of an impact because I had enough positive reviews to sort of offset it. But when more and more started coming in, I noticed that sales just dropped off a cliff. Anything below 4.5 and you're kind of done.”

Further issues, such as attempts by Sellers to negotiate or bully buyers leaving genuine negative reviews have also been uncovered in what is clearly another important issue for Amazon.

They issued a statement to the BBC that read: “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.”

But it’s clear that this is not going far enough.

Thompson and Holt managing partner Craig Gedey said: “In many way this is just as important an issue for Amazon as fake five star reviews is. It is a manipulation of their platform that adversely affects both Amazon Sellers but also, and crucially for them, their customers.

“As such a consumer-driven company they realise that unscrupulous Sellers sabotaging genuine, honest traders on the site will have a a significantly negative effect in the long-term. This practise will enhance the standing of lesser Sellers while bringing down the ones that deserve the higher average ratings, because they have been subjected to fake one-star reviews.

Only last week did we report that Amazon needed to do more to tackle fraudulent reviews,read the full story here

“Amazon can put out as many well written responses as they like about what they are trying to do to combat it, but the more it continues, the more cases will come forward publicly and adversely affect the whole site. Consumers need to know that the ratings they see on Amazon are genuine and trustworthy before buying, so clamping down on fake one-star reviews is crucial.”

What to do if you have been suspended for review manipulation.

If you have found yourself suspended while selling on Amazon, contact Thompson and Holt for a free LiveChat to get your Seller business back online as quickly as possible.

Thompson and Holt are also offering a free months trial of their Monitor and Protect service to help sellers prevent a suspension of ASINs or an their account during the COVID pandemic, more information on how to protect your Amazon seller account from a suspension can be found here.

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