Amazon is suing fake review brokers who orchestrated the posting of deceptive product reviews in exchange for free money and products, the company announced Tuesday (February 22nd).
There are two main brokers in question – AppSally and Rebatest – which the statement said misled shoppers by tricking members into posting “fake reviews” on Amazon and other retailers.
The legal action is part of what Amazon is doing to try to ensure purchases are “safe and trustworthy”.
Amazon says it investigated review brokers, and release notes say the companies in question got 900,000 members “willing to write fake reviews.”
The brokers reportedly attempted to hide their activity, with AppSally selling fake reviews for $20 and telling “bad actors” to ship empty boxes to people who write them. Then AppSally would ask them to give photos to upload alongside the reviews.
Rebatest’s program, according to Amazon, involves paying people who write 5-star reviews after their fake reviews have been endorsed by the previously mentioned bad actors.
“Fake review brokers attempt to profit by misleading unwitting consumers and creating an unfair competitive advantage that harms our selling partners,” said Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of global customer trust and support. to partners at Amazon. “We know how valuable trusted reviews are to our customers. That’s why we hold these review scammers accountable. Although we block millions of suspicious reviews from appearing on our store, these lawsuits target the source. »
Last October, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said scammers stole approximately $27 million from Amazon customers between July 2020 and June 2021.
Read more: FTC: Scammers stole $27 million from Amazon customers
About 96,000 such cases have been reported to the FTC. Reports said there had been reports of companies claiming to be Amazon – which had increased fivefold over the year.
Around 6,000 people also reported an Amazon-related scam and said they lost money because of it. The average median loss was $1,000.