Amazon’s customer review ratings are being “seriously undermined” after thousands of fake five-star reviews were dumped on products made by unknown brands.
That’s the claim being made by consumer group Which?, after 14 categories, including electronics, where flooded with unverified reviews, meaning there is no evidence that the reviewer has bought or used the product.
Many also had a suspiciously high number of five-star ratings that had been placed onto Amazon’s review pages in a short space of time, indicating the reviews are fake.
With 97% of shoppers referring to online customer reviews to help make a purchase, Which? says fake reviews are a “serious problem”, which can mislead customers into buying products that are not fit for purpose.
The CMA estimates that £23 billion a year of UK consumer spending is potentially influenced by online reviews.
Amazon told Which? that it uses a combination of techniques including investigation teams and automated technology to spot fake reviews.
The online marketplace uses machine learning tech to constantly analyse reviews and works with social media sites to block fake reviews at the source.
Which? has advising shoppers to take extra care buying products from brands they haven’t heard of, even if they have positive customer reviews, as these are more likely to be fake or incentivised.
Where possible, look for thorough and independent reviews from credible sources, it said.
Natalie Hitchins, Which?’s head of home products and services, said: “Our research suggests that Amazon is losing the battle against fake reviews – with shoppers bombarded by dubious comments aimed at artificially boosting products from unknown brands.
“Amazon must do more to purge its websites of unreliable and fake reviews if it is to maintain the trust of its millions of customers.
“To avoid being misled and possibly buying a dud product, customers should always take reviews with a pinch of salt and look to independent and trustworthy sources when researching a purchase.”
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