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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:

return-comments

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”.  

report-product

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.

report-prod-opts

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.

report-review

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.

report-rev-button

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

5. Send an email to [email protected]

As a last resort, you can always email the [email protected] 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.


  • Liss

    Epitome of FAKE Reviews right here: https://www.amazon.com/s?rh=n%3A7141123011%2Cp_4%3AXaviera+Hudson&ref=w_bl_sl_s_ap_web_7141123011 3 Products, over 100 5-star reviews for each, all posted within 48 hours, with ZERO verified buyers and most of the reviews are by Men. The product, btw, is for Pasties- I don’t know about you, but I don’t think droopy Man-boobs are such an issue that hundreds of men are rushing out to buy breast lifting, nipple hiding pasties.

    • We’re seeing a rise in products that seem to have reviews that look just like this. Hundreds written around the same time all unverified. Not sure how these are making it through Amazon’s filters as it seems so easy to detect. However we have noticed that many seem to disappear from Amazon within a few weeks.

      • keith

        They disappear after they receive a few bad reviews, but they just list the item again with fake 5 star reviews. They actually use hacked accounts to review multiples of the same item that is not for sale yet. They then release the listings one by one and if they get bad reviews, they delete it and move on to the next listing. My account got hacked and 250 reviews were placed on mostly similar products. All of the items were fulfilled by amazon. As the listings went live, i saw the bad reviews pour in from unhappy customers. I alerted amazon and all they did was delete my fake reviews, not the listings.

  • Wanted_A_Pony

    Yep. I deeply regret that now, when I feel that the US needs honest buyers & honest voters more than ever, I suddenly have much less ability to protest like this. Unexpectedly, I’m caring for two relatives & have lost all income; I *HAVE* to buy the cheapest products I can find, & frequently don’t have the energy to either research purchases or write reviews as I used to do. Just one more way in which individuals can’t be the “rational consumers” that capitalism depends on to work… when individuals can even get a level playing field, of course, which ain’t often. :-(

  • Marcus Kwek

    Great website. Found out about this through the NPR podcast. Was planning to write an article about fake reviews as well (but on Facebook) and it is heartening to know there are like-minded individuals out there.

    It seems like endeavours like these are not too popular not profitable though, judging from the amount of posts, which is quite saddening.

  • Brett R. Gottlieb

    Great, well-considered and valuable counsel. ReviewMeta continues to deliver brilliantly in its mission.

  • Bob Stuart

    Never mind the convenience. I can do without. I won’t order from Amazon until they offer a shipping option of adding a five-minute break for the unlucky cyborg who has to work for me under Jeff the psycho.