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Amazon Cracks Down on Suspicious Reviews from Bad Actors, Sellers Express Mixed Reactions

In a recent move to enhance the integrity of its review system, Amazon appears to have initiated an automated process to remove product reviews from buyers who have been found to violate the platform’s customer review policy

Below is an email screenshot shared by a seller on social media. Several other sellers confirmed that they had also received similar messages from Amazon. The email stated that Amazon took action to remove product reviews from bad actors.

Sellers previously reported receiving such notifications back in October 2023, as seen on this YouTube channel hosted by My Amazon Guy. Another related report came out in December on the popular forum site, Sellers Ask Sellers. Interestingly, in May 2023, Amazon quietly removed hundreds of thousands of reviews from some of its own Amazon Basics listings, a move that at that time suggested that a purge could be coming soon for fake reviews. Five months later, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a rule on fake reviews. If enacted into law, it will give the courts the authority to impose a hefty fine of up to $50,000 per violation on non-compliant individuals and possibly, eComm platforms themselves.

Aside from minimizing regulatory risk, Amazon’s recent move also aims to protect sellers from unfair practices, such as buyer extortion and fake reviews. However, this development has sparked diverse reactions among sellers who have received notifications regarding the removal of reviews associated with rule-breaking buyers.

In the comments section of this YouTube video, one seller expressed optimism, stating, “I hope they are working on cleaning up bad buyers. All they need to do is complain and get the right customer rep, and their account will be reinstated.” This seller highlights a longstanding concern among Amazon sellers about the potential misuse of customer service channels by buyers with malicious intent.

Another seller raised the issue of buyer extortion, stating, “Buyers know that feedback and reviews are important for a brand owner. All they need to do is leave a bad review/feedback, and most likely, they will get a refund. Some will even reach out and contact you, stating they will leave a bad review if they don’t get a refund or discount.” This practice of leveraging reviews for personal gain has been a challenge for honest sellers (and customers) on the platform.

While some sellers welcome Amazon’s efforts to remove bogus reviews and address buyer misconduct, there are concerns about the potential for errors in the automated process.

One seller commented, “It’s helpful until Amazon AI makes a mistake like they always do and tags your buyer account with nefarious reviews, leading to the suspension of your seller account.”

The lack of transparency in the removal process also raises concerns. Another seller from lamented, “I have received this as well. Unfortunately, we aren’t told what the review was.” This lack of information leaves sellers in the dark about the specific issues leading to the removal of reviews, making it challenging for them to address any potential underlying problems.

Despite the challenges, some sellers view the crackdown positively. One seller remarked, “It’s a warning to let sellers know that they’re becoming more aware of fake reviews and taking action. It’s generally good news. Sure – we want fake reviews removed from our listings and more so – bad sellers’ listings.”

As Amazon continues to refine its review removal process, sellers are hopeful that these measures will contribute to a fairer and more trustworthy online marketplace. However, the platform must balance its efforts to combat misuse with transparency and accuracy to ensure a positive experience for both sellers and customers.

Related: A Purge Could be Coming for Fake Reviews on Amazon

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