Belfast Telegraph

Consumer watchdog raises concerns over Amazon failure to tackle dubious reviews

By Josie Clarke

Amazon is failing to stem a "flood" of suspicious and fake reviews on its marketplace that risk misleading millions of customers, according to consumer group Which?

The watchdog studied a selection of devices made and sold by relatively unknown Chinese brands, all of which had "exceptionally high" ratings on Amazon, and in some cases even the coveted 'Amazon's Choice' endorsement.

Eight products tested independently performed so badly they were rated as 'Don't Buys' - low-scoring items Which? advises consumers to avoid.

Almost all of the products - headphones, vacuum cleaners, dash cams and Bluetooth speakers - fell short of the average Which? score for product performance in their categories.

A set of headphones sold under the Yineme brand showed signs of suspicious review activity, Which? said, including unusually high numbers of positive reviews, high review frequency, repetition of phrases and photos and videos often uploaded alongside reviews.

The headphones had a high overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 from more than 800 reviews and an 'Amazon's Choice' badge.

In contrast, Which? tests gave the product a 'Don't Buy' warning, with a score of just 37%.

Shortly after Which? reported these headphones to Amazon, the product was made 'currently unavailable'. Amazon has also deleted customer reviews.

The Onson Cordless Vacuum also showed signs of suspicious reviews, scoring an average of 4.4 on Amazon and again had the 'Amazon's Choice' recommendation.

In testing it turned out to be one of Which?'s lowest-scoring cordless vacuums ever - scoring just 32%.

Experts found it difficult to use and unhygienic to empty and it scored just one star for cleaning on carpets, floorboards and laminate flooring. It was also poor at removing pet hair.

Which? said it remained concerned that Amazon was failing to take strong action to stop fake reviews.

Belfast Telegraph