Skip to main content

Amazon sellers continue shady practices, asking customers to delete negative reviews

Amazon logo on a wall
Amazon logo on a wall (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Some Amazon sellers are reportedly emailing customers over bad reviews.
  • One customer details being contacted by a seller multiple times over her review, offering her incentives to delete it.
  • Amazon prohibits sellers from contacting customers outside of the website's own messaging service.

Amazon has been cracking down on third-party sellers for influencing good reviews by bribing customers. However, the latest case highlights how sellers are also trying to get customers to delete their bad reviews.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, a woman left a negative review for a product that she received, only to be emailed a week later and asked to take the review down by someone claiming to be a brand representative. She was told that she would receive a full refund for doing so.

To make matters worse, the email ended with a fairly creepy statement. "When we do not receive a response, we will assume that you did not see it, and will continue to send emails."

When she refused to delete the review, she was offered a refund twice what she paid for the product. According to The WSJ, the customer complained to Amazon, after which the brand was eventually removed from its store.

Amazon did not immediately respond to our request for comment but told The WSJ that the company doesn't share customer emails with third-party sellers. Brands are also not allowed to ask customers to remove bad reviews and may only be allowed to contact customers via the website's messaging service. "We have clear policies for both reviewers and selling partners that prohibit abuse of our community features, and we suspend, ban and take legal action against those who violate these policies."

This comes after a string of popular accessory brands were banned from Amazon after violating company policy by offering incentives for good reviews. This included brands behind some of the best portable chargers and power banks. This tactic is allegedly how the seller in question received the customer's information to contact her.

Meanwhile, Amazon has pointed out how it devotes "significant resources to preventing fake or incentivized reviews" on its storefront. However, it remains a big issue on the e-commerce site, and customers are encouraged to contact Amazon either by email or the "Report Abuse" link found on reviews if they notice any such behavior.

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

Android Central

Every week, the Android Central Podcast brings you the latest tech news, analysis and hot takes, with familiar co-hosts and special guests.

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

5 Comments
  • I've recently had two, 1 star reviews rejected by Amazon and not posted. They were not overly negative, clearly within their guidelines and simply reflected my experiences with two separate products, neither of which lived up to their advertised claims. Interestingly, my many positive reviews have been accepted and published without question. Beginning to wonder if Amazon, to some extent filters reviews by mostly only accepting and posting those that are complementary towards the seller/product. Mr Pot let me introduce you to Mr Kettle
  • I get these every so often. I'm sure Amazon wants to limit the number of returns it gets when a product isn't as advertised, etc.
  • Curious that Android Central doesn't want to say how these scammers get customers' private email addresses. The fact is that crooked Amazon employees are stealing private customer information from poorly secured Amazon databases and selling it to criminal organizations that resell it to crooked 3rd party vendors. If bloggers reported this, they would lose their Amazon referral and advertising dollars.
  • Actually, I mention in the article that the seller allegedly got the customer's information from the same "incentivized review" tactic that has gotten other brands banned from Amazon.
  • Happened to me once; my reply was pretty firm. They never contacted me again. And then I updated the negative review to tell about the contact. Supplier suddenly disappeared. However, might have just returned wit another name...