Thompson and Holt back Amazon Seller Bribery Investigation
Updated: May 29, 2020
Thompson and Holt managing partner Craig Gedey has welcomed news that Amazon are investigating claims of bribery between employees and sellers - and urged them to act decisively.
A report in the Wall Street Journal revealed that Amazon independent sellers have been allowed to delete negative reviews and restore suspended Amazon seller accounts in return for payments.
The report added that employees are also offering internal data to help Amazon sellers increase sales which is a clear breach of Amazons policies.
It focused on activity in the China marketplace, which has seen rapid growth in its number of sellers and were Amazon employees are paid relatively small salaries, but says breaches could also have taken place in America.
Amazon has since issued a statement confirmed that it is conducting a “thorough investigation” of the claims and has “zero tolerance” for the practice, which is against company policy. The statement read: “We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties.
“In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behaviour, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds and taking legal action.”
Thompson and Holt managing partner Craig Gedey says a comprehensive investigation is vital to Amazon’s integrity.
He said: “This is a matter that needs to be deal with promptly and effectively. We fully welcome the news that Amazon are looking into this because it is a crucial that companies are operating in a fair and balanced marketplace.” Around half of the items sold on Amazon now come from third-party sellers and it is the fierce competition between third party sellers that causes some to break the rules. Those sellers need to compete with Amazon's own products for attention to get their items higher on search results pages – but Craig Gedey said that must be done fairly.
He added: “We hope the matter is resolved quickly and efficiently so that Amazon can go back to operating in the way it is intended to. It is fairly common for third party sellers to receive an Amazon suspension for manipulating product reviews from Amazon buyers but most of the time the sellers don’t realise that they have breached any policies. What we are now seeing in this report appears to be blatant review manipulation by Amazons own employees.”
It will be interesting to see the outcome of Amazons investigation should it be publicised given the recent media reports in the UK about Amazon buyers being scammed by third party sellers. It is important that Amazon maintains its trusted reputation especially at a time when Amazon is expanding into new marketplaces such as Australia and Turkey as we have already experienced in 2018.