I am sure by now everyone knows that 65% of us trust online reviews. Looking at the ratings on Amazon products can help consumers make more informed decisions about what they add to their shopping carts. We are more swayed by a simple star rating than what reviewers write, which makes sense because, with e-commerce, we can’t see products in person before we buy them. Therefore, a product with a four or five-star rating will make more sales because there’s the trustworthiness of a product.
Millions of customers have been buying shoddy products by looking at fake reviews. Recently, Amazon announced that four and five-star reviews are being sold on the platform. Fake reviews are illegal in the UK under consumer protection law. Amazon also said that the company doesn’t allow anyone to write reviews as a form of promotion.
The companies selling fake reviews to sellers rely on an army of testers who buy the products to post four and five-star reviews online. The testers then get the refund for the cost of purchasing the products, in addition to a small fee. The testers buy the products so that the reviews they post get classified as “Amazon Verified Purchases”.
Fake reviews have been an issue for Amazon since its inception, but the problem appears to have intensified in 2015, when Amazon.com began to court Chinese sellers. The retail giant has stated that less than 1% of its reviews are ingenuine and has cautioned against taking these data at face value.
While Amazon is planning on fighting fake reviews, you as a customer can always take your research off Amazon if you are committed to making the best purchase. A product that has a similar rating on a less popular site to what it has on Amazon has likely been reviewed honestly. If you suspect fraud, you can let Amazon know by clicking “report abuse” next to the review.