We’re on the hunt for fake reviews, but we need your help. Have you ever been offered an incentive in return for a positive review or to change a negative one?
18/06/2021: Amazon products show signs of fake and incentivised review practice
Today our investigation ahead of Amazon Prime Day has revealed popular brands whose customers claim they were offered incentives for positive reviews.
It’s really concerning that consumers are raising the alarm on misleading tactics by sellers being used on best-selling Amazon products – particularly at a time when more people are shopping online than ever before because of the pandemic.
Amazon must, as an absolute minimum, do more to enforce its own policies – especially when evidence of manipulation is hidden in plain sight in its Best Sellers lists. The CMA needs to urgently get to the bottom of the problem of misleading and fake reviews and be prepared to take strong action to ensure consumers can trust the reviews that influence billions of pounds of spending every year.
If you have an example of what you believe to be a fake or incentivised review, please send it to us on:
06/03:2020: Share your experiences
For the last sixty years, our mission at Which? has been to help people make informed buying decisions. We know customer reviews are playing an increasingly important role in this when we shop online.
However, this role is now under real threat from the recent rise of fake reviews and the plague of online misinformation.
We’ve heard from people who have been duped into buying poor quality products and services, while others tell us they feel they can no longer trust the reviews they read online, making it more difficult to get a good deal.
“I ordered a product from Amazon, Bluetooth headphones, which were not very good so I left a 3 star review. I was contacted by the company and offered alternative headphones and asked to amend my review to 4 or 5 stars”
This is in addition to those consumers who are unaware of the problem and don’t realise that they’re being misled.
Repeatedly finding fake reviews
In the last year, we’ve repeatedly uncovered evidence of fake reviews being traded or posted on some of the biggest online platforms, including Amazon, eBay, Facebook and TripAdvisor, leading to intervention from the regulator and (some) action from the sites – although there remains much more to be done.
But ending the scourge of suspicious reviews isn’t so straightforward.
As efforts to crackdown on the problem are stepped up, unscrupulous sellers are devising ever more sophisticated means of misleading people, making it increasingly difficult to spot an untrue review.
Have you seen a fake review?
Given the difficulty of sorting the facts from the fakes, we’re asking you to join us on the hunt for fake reviews.
As a result, many of you will have experienced products or services that simply don’t reflect their ratings or reviews.
So if you think you’ve previously encountered suspicious activity online, we’re asking you to share it with us. Here’s how:
Send your examples to firstname.lastname@example.org
It doesn’t matter whether this was for a product, a restaurant, a hotel stay or a local business. Or whether it was on Amazon or eBay, Facebook or Google, TrustPilot or TripAdvisor – we’re keen to hear about your experiences.
We are especially interested in seeing:
Examples of incentivised reviews – positive reviews that have been written in return for discounts, gifts or refunds
Duplicate reviews – have you seen the same review posted multiple times on the same listing? What patterns are you seeing?
Unrelated reviews – that clearly do not match the product or service, like this pair of headphones we found, with reviews for Acne cream, light shades and razor blades.
Examples of reviews on a listing for a pair of headphones: