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That is, Amazon third-party sellers allegedly hurt customers who leave bad reviews.

Image for article title here Amazon Third party sellers allegedly caught users leaving bad reviews

Image: Dennis Charlotte. (Getty Images)

These days, most of the goods on Amazon’s online marketplace are not actually from Amazon. One Guessed Of all products sold on the platform, 56 come from third-party vendors. Now, these are not sellers. Considered So they can email their Amazon customers directly, and Doing so outside of Amazon’s official channels violates the platform’s terms of service.

However, about a new one. The Wall Street Journal. The report shows that some sellers are still in contact with buyers and are considering editing or deleting their negative reviews, and some companies are even “emailing” and “reviewing”. Search services to help sellers find unsatisfied customers.

One such customer the journal spoke with was Catherine Scott, a New Yorker who said she had a negative review of a kitchen oil spray bottle she bought in March when the product did not work as advertised. ۔ One week later, someone contacted the shopkeeper via email, claiming to be a customer service representative, to offer him a refund in exchange for deleting his review.

“We are ready for a full refund. When we do not receive a response, we will assume you have not seen it, and will continue to send emails. It ends with a plea:” We hope. Can you reconsider deleting comments at your convenience? “

When Scott asked for a refund but refused to give his review, he received an e-mail from another agent offering him $ 20, which he doubled for the product. To delete it He received many more unsolicited emails over the next few months, all of which bothered him to review himself.

“It was so creepy. They emailed me directly about it over and over,” Scott told the outlet.

At least a dozen other customer reviews for similar products mentioned that the seller reached out and pressured them to revise their negative review. “Product doesn’t work and company will bother you till you change review,” one customer wrote, the Journal reports. “Seller offers $20-$30 to delete negative reviews,” said another.

Another Amazon customer, Ben Hendin of Tulsa, Oklahoma, told the outlet that a seller reached out to him four times after he left a negative review of a finger splint. To try to convince him to delete the review, the seller kept upping the refund amount, eventually reaching $40, more than double what the splint cost.

When it comes to sharing information with third-party sellers, Amazon only releases “customers’ personal information related to those transactions with that third party,” according to its privacy notice. Qualified sellers have the option of using Amazon’s buyer-seller messaging service, but that uses a unique encrypted email address rather than the customer’s personal email.

“We do not share customer email addresses with third-party sellers,” an Amazon spokesperson told Journal.

Amazon’s customer product review policies for sellers explicitly prohibit them from asking a customer to change or remove their review. Sellers are also banned from offering “a refund or other compensation” to a reviewer in exchange for editing their review.

As for how the seller got her email address, Scott told the Journal she had a theory. Her Amazon package came with a “free gift” insert for a cooking thermometer that prompted her to enter her email address and order ID, she said. This kind of insert is also against Amazon’s policies, a company spokesperson told the Journal. Hendin said he asked the seller directly about how they got his contact information, to which the representative reportedly replied: “Boss found it through social software search for names.”

There’s apparently enough demand from sellers that companies have begun offering services explicitly dedicated to finding contact info for unsatisfied customers. One company the Journal investigated, Matic Chain, reportedly offers an “email extraction service for Amazon sellers.” A company representative told the outlet that it combs through Google and social media to match a buyer’s name with their contact information.

Another company that offers similar services, ZonBoost, openly boasts about it on its website. As screenshotted below, it advertises a “Reviewer Lookup” tool where, for just $60 a pop, you can plug in the link to the Amazon review and ZonBoost promises to “find you those buyers’ name & personal email with 100% accuracy!” (Technically it’s 60 “credits,” but each credit costs one dollar.)

Image for article titled Here's How Amazon Third-Party Sellers Reportedly Hound Customers Who Leave Bad Reviews

Screenshot: ZonBoost (Gizmodo)

“The data source of all of our features is Amazon’s database, which guarantees 100% accuracy!” reads the tool’s Q&A page.

Amazon and ZonBoost did not respond to Gizmodo’s request for comments.

After the Journal reached out to Amazon about Scott’s experience, the listing, seller, and brand all disappeared from the platform, according to the outlet.

“The issue you’re highlighting was detected by our internal processes, and the appropriate enforcement actions were taken,” an Amazon spokesperson told the outlet. They continued:

“Amazon provides a great deal of help content, proactive coaching, warnings and other assistance to sellers to ensure they remain compliant with our clearly stated policies. 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. Bad actors that attempt to abuse our system make up a tiny fraction of activity on our site and we use sophisticated tools to combat them and we make it increasingly difficult for them to hide.”

So what should you do if a seller tries to pressure you into changing your review? An Amazon spokesperson told the Journal that customers can report them by emailing [email protected] or click the “Report Abuse” link on the review page.

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