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How to Fight Back Against Fake Reviews on Amazon

September 25th, 2018

One thing I’ve noticed after running ReviewMeta for the last two years is the sheer amount of outrage that some shoppers feel over fake reviews.  Not only at the sellers who fabricate them, but also the platforms that host them – in this case, Amazon itself.

It’s ironic: I’ve noticed a lot of anti-Amazon sentiment building in the people who I interact with, but they all admit to continued use of Amazon due to the overwhelming shopping convenience.  Myself included. It’s almost like there’s no alternative.

The question then becomes:

If we are going to continue shopping on Amazon, how can we help shape it for the better?

Amazon is a massive, for-profit, publicly traded company.  Last time I checked, they employ over a half-million humans worldwide.  It’s not going to be as simple as sending Mr. Bezos a strongly-worded letter.

That said, shoppers have a few avenues available to them to help shape the future of Amazon.  Here’s a list of things to do if you feel taken advantage of by a product listing or misleading reviews on Amazon:

1. Return the product

This is probably your strongest tool in the fight against low-quality products and fake reviews.  Returning a product sends a financial message to both the seller and to Amazon that you will not tolerate being swindled.  

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t give you the option to return something because you think it has fake reviews.  Instead, I’ve selected either “Inaccurate website description” or “Item defective or doesn’t work” for products I was disappointed by.  return-reasons

Be sure to mention that you believe the product listing has fake reviews in the “comments” section:

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Even if it only cost a few dollars, it’s worth going through the trouble to return a defective product to send a strong message to Amazon.  

2. Leave an honest review.

Without getting too emotional or flying off the handle, leave an honest review of every product you were disappointed by.  Don’t name-call, use vulgarity or otherwise violate the community guidelines – you don’t want your review to get removed for a silly reason.  

Even if yours is the only negative review out of thousands of fake positive reviews, there’s a chance your honest feedback will be seen by future shoppers who can avoid making the same mistake as you.  Also, if everyone who is disappointed leaves a negative review, you’ll be part of a bigger force that’s sure to help educate future shoppers.

3. Report Products

Just below the product summary, you’ll find a link on every product that says “Report Incorrect Product Information”.  

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Again, you won’t have an option to directly select “there are fake reviews”, but at least you can send a message to Amazon and let them know there’s something up with the product.

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Just remember to fill in the optional comments box with your grievances about the product or the reviews.

4. Report Reviews

It seems that Amazon has removed the “unhelpful” button, so clicking the “Report abuse” link is all you have left.

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It also seems that Amazon has removed the “comments” area when reporting a review.  So all you can do is click the “Report” button to confirm you want to report the review.

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It may seem futile, but it helps get suspicious reviews on Amazon’s radar for further investigation.  

5. Send an email to community-help@amazon.com

As a last resort, you can always email the community-help@amazon.com email address – according to Amazon’s Community Guidelines, this is an option for anyone wanting to report anything fishy at all going on with Amazon’s listings or product reviews.

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Make sure that you are SPECIFIC when you send in your complaint.  Remember to include:

  • A direct link to the product in question, or an ASIN
  • A direct link to any reviews in question
  • Screenshots if necessary

This is a great option if you notice review hijacking happening on something you are considering buying.

You may never get a response, but at least you’re tipping off someone at Amazon to look into your complaints further and take action if necessary.

You may not see immediate results but every vote counts.

Don’t be discouraged if Amazon does not take immediate action.  Even if there’s just a 1% chance of Amazon removing a problematic review or product every time you report it, you’re still sending a message.  

It’s just like voting.  Your vote may not tip the election, but when everyone comes out to vote, that’s how society makes changes.