When you buy something from Amazon, the e-commerce giant isn’t always the one selling; it is estimated that half of all products sold on Amazon come from third-party sellers. Amazon says it is simply an intermediary between buyer and seller, and takes no responsibility if a third-party product is faulty (although some recent court cases have challenged this position).
Third-party sellers aren’t supposed to be able to email Amazon customers directly outside of the platform, but a new report in The Wall Street Journal shows that some sellers can find ways to connect with buyers who leave negative product reviews, and some companies even offer “email fetch” for buyers as a service to sellers.
So rather than paying people to give favorable reviews, a practice banned by Amazon in 2016, these third-party sellers go after people who leave a bad review on a product and offer them payment to change or remove it. (a practice that is also a violation of Amazon’s rules of rules). Nicole Nguyen writes in the WSJ about Katherine Scott buying a kitchen oil spray that didn’t perform as advertised so left a negative review. A week later, she received an email that appeared to be from a customer service representative at the oil spray company offering a refund if she removed the notice.
Ms Scott requested a refund but was unwilling to remove her review. Another representative contacted the next day and refused to reimburse him. “A bad review is a fatal blow to us,” the email read. “Could you help me remove the notice?” If you can, I want to refund you $ 20 to express my gratitude. (This was double what Ms Scott paid.) A few hours later, she received another plea from the same email address.
Amazon told the WSJ it doesn’t share customer email addresses with third-party sellers and deleted some 200 million fake reviews last year alone. But Nguyen writes that third-party sellers are still finding ways to email customers. Go read this great report which includes tips on how to protect your email address from Amazon sellers who shouldn’t have it in the first place.