When Amazon Customers Leave Negative Reviews, Some Sellers Look For Them

Ever wonder how cheap, no-name products on Amazon can rack up hundreds, sometimes thousands, of near-perfect star ratings, with only a handful of negative reviews?

Here’s one way: Some sellers are reaching out to dissatisfied buyers to review or remove their negative reviews, in exchange for refunds or gift cards. With fewer unhappy shoppers, the overall average star rating goes up.

Sellers who ship products through Amazon are not supposed to communicate with customers outside of the official Amazon channel; in fact, it is a violation of the terms that they agree on the retail platform.

In March, New Yorker Katherine Scott chose a cooking oil spray bottle, based on nearly 1,000 glowing reviews of the product on Amazon, which had an average 4.5-star rating. When the $ 10 sprayer arrived, he found that the item wasn’t working as advertised: Instead of a mist, it produced a jet of oil, he said. “It was like a Super Soaker gun instead of a spray paint can, which defeats the purpose of the product,” he said. Left a negative review.

A week later, Ms. Scott received an email from someone claiming to be from the customer service team for the oil sprayer brand, Auxtun, correspondence that I have reviewed.

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