Posted by Chuck on April 13, 2018
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Published on April 13th, 2018 | by Chuck

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Amazon Froze Some Accounts for Various Abuses including Paid Reviews

Last week, hundreds of Amazon users woke up to find their login credentials not working on their accounts. Even paid Prime members were affected. A few days of trying to reach out to Amazon yielded no results until Business Insider ran a piece on the issue a week ago. Soon afterward, many affected users got access to their accounts again.

The frozen Amazon accounts  were related to abuse in the Amazon review policy. Amazon has long prohibited paid reviews, and back in 2016 they stop allowing incentivized reviews where the reviewer got the product free or discounted in exchange for a review.

Amazon somehow picks up on these illegitimate reviews and has been known to ban reviewing privileges of those participating. This recent wave of frozen accounts went a step further where the entire account was deactivated due to improper use.

The review issue seems to have been the primary cause for these frozen accounts, though apparently some of the frozen accounts may have been due to other misdoing.

Be aware of what you are risking with monkey business on Amazon. I once had my Amazon account frozen for making too many back-to-back purchases, and it wasn’t a picnic getting it reinstated. Probably not a good idea playing around with Amazon, and certainly worth keeping anything which can be misconstrued as such on a separate dedicated Amazon account with the hopes that a shutdown won’t effect your main account.



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Jerry M
Jerry M

Its not only about paid reviews but there are also tons of fake reviews on amazon products. Even those products with more than 1000 reviews has lots of fake reviews. It can be easily identified, many of them are short one line reviews that do not look genuine.

Darv
Darv

Good to know Amazon is policing this. That’s the value of their product is the quality of their information. These days it’s probably easy to program bots to do a lot of things. Hopefully they stay ahead of that.

frogger
frogger

People get paid to write thorough reviews. You don’t get paid to write a one liner.

Matt P
Matt P

The fake one liners aren’t paid, they are either 5 star from the sellers or 1 star from their competitors.

john
john

Even paid Prime members were effected. -> affected

M
M

> I once had my Amazon account frozen for making too many back-to-back purchases

Wow, I wouldn’t ever expect that. I did recently have 4 legitimate returns of defective or incorrect items in the span of a few weeks. I was a little wary of Amazon noticing a pattern, so I delayed the last return until just about the end of the 30-day window so I could space it out and get a few more “good” purchases on my account in the meantime.

Probably complete paranoia on my part since I’m a very long time customer with $5k+ in purchases a year. But at the same time, I’ve read stories, and it’d really suck to lose the ability to do business with them!

Parkerthon
Parkerthon

Nope, you’re just being smart by being cautious. If you value your Amazon account you stay off their radar. They are pretty heavy handed with any suspected abusers which catches a lot of legit customers. They’re printing money so they don’t care. Reminds me of the unholy paypal/ebay union back in their day. It’ll eventually bit them in the butt when consumer opinion sours on them. In meantime caveat emptor.

Parkerthon
Parkerthon

I got on their warning list with buying and returning clothing. I was buying docket shorts at the time, and some of the sizing was wildly inconsistent as it would vary based on reseller and country they were made in. Didn’t matter to Amazon, so I stopped buying clothes from them. It’s all numbers.

bob
bob

and i can’t sell my old CD’s anymore. thanks a lot, Amazon

Ferris
Ferris

When you find a product with a name you don’t recognize, if they have 75% of higher 5 star reviews, it probably is mostly fake reviews. No product can really get much above 50-60% genuine 5-star reviews as everyone has different tastes.

Jesson
Jesson

And there are MANY fake reviews on Kindle devices and other Amazon products…

john mccann
john mccann

One thing’s for sure. Amazon to this day can’t package a book. 99% of the time damage occurs. Too big to give personalized service.

NinjaX
NinjaX

with his game getting too much exposure, i absolutely FEAR the day amazon shuts us down for certain transaction. sigh. RIP.

The Value Traveler

fake reviews, fake news, fake boobs…whats happening to us America?? We’re better than this!

V
V

This is a really inaccurate report that leaves out a lot of IMO important information. People that did not review where affected, too. Amazon even sent out two different emails to the different groups: one stating “suspicious activity” that made them “disable” the accounts, the other ones where for breaking the TOS. The way they “disabled” everything also doesn’t look right. You could just not login, but you could order through the app. I am sure Amazon knows how to disable account correctly that doesn’t allow you to order through the app. If this is their regular account disabling process then I am highly concerned about the quality of the Amazon. Software issues also align with multiple unverified reports where some CSR reported “known technical issues”, but these CSR also made up other excuses for some people, so that can also be another excuse to get rid of these callers. When your account gets disabled Amazon sends also communication out which they didn’t do in this case. Support didn’t had a clue what was going on and you could here 5 different reasons for the same account. On top of that only a really small group of reviewers where affected. There are tens of thousands of reviewers that break the TOS (check the “removed top 10,000 reviewers” list on reddit), yet only a small group of them was targeted. And I know a lot of people who where not affected by this, even though they where caught reviewers. Even reviewers that stopped when the TOS didn’t allow such reviews (and previous reviews where in alignment with the TOS) had their account “disabled”. Also a lot of people from the “disabled” accounts group got caught for their review rule break in 2017 and had also their review privilege removed in 2017. Yet Amazon “disabled” their account in April 2018, in some cases over 12month later. This all together looks more like some scripts from Amazon went crazy and messed things up. The entire communication about the TOC and “suspicious activity” is the easiest excuse they can get. But having all the reviewers scream loudly and even thread with a class action suit doesn’t make it better. That you can’t take these reviewer serious is based on the fact that their planed (if this even possible) class action law suite has nothing to do with this incident but that they want their… Read more »

GuessWho
GuessWho

Next they need to add Seller Info to each reviews (and ability to filter reviews by seller), especially for products that are not sold nearly exclusively by Amazon. Too many fake products floating around.

Stryker
Stryker

Many of the disabled were not just for posting fake reviews. They targeted mainly the resellers of multiple orders. Sometimes 100+ orders of the same product.
These resellers’ accounts were banned indefinitely.

J. Grant
J. Grant

We all know they don’t shut down accounts unless people are doing sketchy stuff. Then they all pretend to be innocent. Same goes for other shutdowns. And they must be super sketchy things bc all my accts are still open and I’m no saint.

Cindy
Cindy

Untrue. I bought some lightweight readers from Amazon and loved them. The only bad thing was they would break easy. I’d buy them again each time they broke. My review was probably ‘unbelievable’ since I got banned for rating 5 stars and reviewing a pair of glasses I loved. I’m wearing a pair now and still love them, but Amazon banned me from making product reviews a couple of years ago because of my glowing reviews of the glasses.

Duke I.
Duke I.

I had to complain to amazon about one of its sellers constantly emailing me to remove a bad review. Most likely they’re freezing many of those types of accounts.

If I leave a bad review it means the product really is bad. Period.

Krishna aswani
Krishna aswani

I mostly use Fakespot . Com to figure out how many reviews are fake. Lot of the bestseller are on top just because of the fake reviews. Fake reviews doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is bad though.

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