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Amazon takes legal action against new fake review broker as UK plans to clamp down on firms

May 6, 2022

Friday 06 May 2022 11:35 am

Amazon has started legal action against Hong Kong based fake review broker Extreme Rebate after it successfully targeted the schemes of three major attackers, resulting in nearly 350,000 people no longer being incentivised by them.

As a part of its effort to ensure a safe and trustworthy shopping experience, the ecommerce giant has turned its eyes to Extreme Rebate, which is notorious for pushing misleading reviews onto Amazon stores in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Canada.

The brokers approach customers through their own websites and solicit them to write misleading or inflated reviews in exchange for money, free products, or other incentives. For example, Extreme Rebate runs fraudulent schemes that provide free products and pays members up to $4 per review for five-star reviews that are at least 15 words long and include pictures or videos.

Amazon filed lawsuits against them in the U.S. and Germany to shut them down and to compel them to provide information about who hired them. This information will allow them to remove any resulting fake reviews that haven’t already been detected and removed by our advanced technology and proactive processes that constantly monitor the store.

Earlier this year, Amazon took legal actions against three major fake review brokers—Fivestar Marketing, Matronex, and AppSally. The brokers have now stopped their fraudulent schemes targeting the giant and its customers in the U.S., UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

Just last month, the government said it had plans to make it “clearly illegal” to pay someone to write fake reviews, and will give the UK competition watchdog new powers to fine firms up to 10 per cent of their global turnover.

If it goes ahead, the new rules would allow the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to place a new onus on sites to ensure that customer reviews are genuine.

Rocio Concha, Director of Policy and Advocacy at consumer choice brand Which? praised Amazon’s move and said: “It is positive that Amazon has taken legal action against some of the fake review brokers that Which? has previously exposed for misleading consumers. However, our recent investigation found that there are still unscrupulous businesses exploiting weaknesses with Amazon’s review system, leaving shoppers at risk of buying products boosted by thousands of bogus five-star reviews.

“The CMA’s ongoing fake reviews investigation must root out any unfair practices being used to manipulate shoppers and ensure people are protected when they are using major shopping sites.

“The government has announced that it plans to give the CMA stronger powers to protect consumers from an avalanche of fake reviews. The inclusion of these measures as part of a Consumer and Competition Bill in next week’s Queen’s Speech is vital.”

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