Tech products from ‘unknown’ brands for sale on Amazon are littered with potentially fake reviews, an investigation by Which? has found.
Of the hundreds of products analysed, many have a raft of five star customer ratings and thousands of glowing reviews, and many of these are from unverified purchasers – all telltale signs of ‘fake’ reviews. Which? found unknown brands dominating search results for popular tech; tens of thousands of positive, unverified reviews; hundreds of five-star, unverified reviews arriving on a product in a single day; and products loaded with positive reviews for different items.
97% of shoppers rely on online customer reviews to help make a purchase, according to a survey Which? conducted in September 2018 of more than 2,000 adults. The CMA estimates that £23 billion a year of UK consumer spending is potentially influenced by online reviews.
Video: Fake reviews on Amazon
Which? searched Amazon for 14 different technology products, including cameras, wearables, headphones and smartwatches, and found that some appear to be far more heavily targeted by potentially fake reviews and ‘unknown’ brands – companies tech experts had never heard of.
Which? uncovered a high number of headphones, compact cameras, dash cams, fitness trackers and smartwatches from unknown brands, with perfect five-star ratings and a number of unverified reviews – many of which showed the same suspicious activity.
Amazon responded to the findings of the Which? research, stating: “Amazon invests significant resources to protect the integrity of reviews in our store because we know customers value the insights and experiences shared by fellow shoppers. Even one inauthentic review is one too many. We have clear participation guidelines for both reviewers and selling partners and we suspend, ban, and take legal action on those who violate our policies.”