Amazon shoppers at risk of being misled into buying potentially dangerous products

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Consumer group Which? claimed to have uncovered a range of “obvious tactics” that sellers were using to manipulate review ratings on Amazon.

These included offering free gifts or vouchers for positive reviews, and large numbers of positive product reviews being uploaded in a “suspiciously short space of time”.

Amazon said it has clear policies that prohibit sellers from engaging in these types of activities and has mechanisms to assess reviews.

Which? previously found evidence of fake and suspicious review activity on eBay, Facebook and TripAdvisor.


Natalie Hitchins, from Which?, said: “Our investigation has uncovered popular Black Friday product categories that are littered with fake and suspicious reviews – suggesting that deals that look too good to be true often are.

“This leaves shoppers at risk of being misled into buying poor quality and potentially dangerous products online.”

Which? examined reviews on the first page of Amazon’s listings for categories such as tablets, smartphones and mobile phone accessories ahead of Black Friday on November 27.

A pair of Pro-Elec headphones had 1,006 ratings and 4.8 stars despite the listing having only been added less than six months earlier and the brand being “unknown outside 
of Amazon”.

The same Amazon profiles left multiple reviews for the headphones on the same day by selecting different colour variants – in an effort to evade the systems Amazon uses to detect fake reviews, the watchdog said.


The Com-petition and Markets Auth-ority (CMA) estimates that £23billion a year of consumer trans-actions are influenced by online reviews.

Which? has called for the CMA and retailers to address the “recurring problem” caused by fake reviews so that consumers can shop online with confidence.

Amazon said: “Our objective is to ensure customers see authentic and relevant reviews so they can make better informed purchasing decisions.

“To do this, we use powerful machine learning tools and skilled investigators to analyse over 10 million review submissions weekly, aiming to stop abusive reviews before they are ever published.”

Separately, Lloyds Bank has found that millions of Britons are putting themselves at risk of fraud because of the amount of personal information they share on social media.


Men are more confident in spotting a scam than women. But one in 10 of all of us have not heard of the most common scams, the research published 
today found.

Paul Davis, retail fraud director at Lloyds Bank, said: “If you think you’ll never fall victim to fraud, then think again.

“Scammers are getting more and more sophisticated, but it seems many, in particular men, have a false confidence that this won’t happen to them.

“Social media profiles are a shop window to scammers on the lookout for their next target, so it’s important that everyone thinks seriously about what protections they have in place to ensure they stay safe online.”

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