In a fresh bid to curb fake reviews on e-commerce sites, Amazon has decided to go after two review broker companies for allegedly running fake reviews scam. Amazon has filed a lawsuit against AppSally and Rebatest claiming that they misled shoppers by posting fake reviews on multiple e-commerce sites including Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Etsy.
Amazon claims the two companies have over 900,000 members who are willing to post fake reviews in exchange for money or free products. App Sally allegedly sells fake reviews for as low $20 and also orchestrates delivery of empty boxes to the reviewers so they could post photos along with their reviews to make them look more convincing to other shoppers.
Amazon said that the lawsuit’s aim is to shut down the two review brokers and it is part of their “comprehensive and proactive efforts” to provide a “trustworthy shopping experience” to customers.
Dharmesh Mehta, VP of WW Customer Trust & Partner Support at Amazon said that though his company has blocked millions of suspicious reviews from getting published, these lawsuits target the source. “Fake review brokers attempt to profit by deceiving unknowing consumers and creating an unfair competitive advantage that harms our selling partners. That is why we are holding these review fraudsters accountable,” he added.
The legal action also stems from the fact that Amazon was facing a lot of heat from regulators in some countries who suspected that big tech companies are not doing enough to detect and remove fake reviews that were misleading customers and hurting sellers. In June 2021, UK’s competition regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opened an investigation against Amazon and Google to assess whether they have done enough to tackle fake reviews, according to news reports.
Amazon said that it has won several injunctions against fake review brokers in the past, which allowed them a peek into their fraudulent operations. In 2021, Amazon managed to secure injunctions that led to the shutdown of two major fake review websites running from Germany and the UK.