Amazon shoppers are being conned by thousands of fake 'five-star' reviews

18 April, 2019, 05:09 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Amazon parcel

When researchers searched for headphones they found all the products on the first page of results were from unknown brands and nearly nine in 10 of more than 12,000 reviews for these products were from unverified purchasers.

The consumer group Which? analysed the listings of hundreds of popular tech products in 14 online categories including headphones, dashcams, fitness trackers and smartwatches, checking for telltale signs of suspicious reviews.

The analysis of other categories such as smartwatches found that unverified reviews making up 99 percent of the ratings for the top four products.

The study says that search results for gadgets are dominated mostly by brands no one has ever heard of, but their reviews are positive.

Amazon is inundated with tens of thousands of "potentially fake" five-star product reviews, a United Kingdom consumer group claims.

Amazon said it was using automated technology to weed out false reviews.

For example, headphones made by the brand Celebrat had 439 reviews which had only five-star reviews, all unverified, and all being posted on the same day.

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Hannah Walsh of Which? said: "97% of shoppers rely on online customer reviews to help make a purchase, according to a survey we conducted in September 2018 of more than 2,000 adults".

"This makes fake reviews a serious problem - at best they could mislead you into buying a product that's not as good as it appeared, at worse you could end up with something that's not even fit for goal". The group found that headphones, particularly from "unknown" brands, had attracted thousands of fake reviews.

It said it invested "significant resources" to protect its review system "because we know customers value the insights and experiences shared by fellow shoppers". It confirmed that it has clear participation guidelines for both reviewers and selling partners and it suspends, bans, and takes legal action on those that violate guidelines.

Check the reviewer's profile. Have a look at all of their reviews.

ReviewMeta "believed every five-star unverified review of the top 10 pairs of headphones when sorted by average customer review was fake", Which? wrote.

Look for reviews below five stars.

Two weeks ago, Which? revealed how many genuine customer reviews on the websites of Amazon, Argos, Currys PC World and John Lewis, gave five-star ratings to products it had tested and rated as a "Don't Buy". One-word, non-specific reviews they can leave across multiple products are a giveaway.

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