Amazon 'flooded' by fake reviews

Amazon on mobile

Amazon on mobile

As many as 71 percent of the products on the first page had five-star reviews, although it was not clear from 87 percent of the reviews whether the product was actually bought from Amazon. Drilling down further into the suspect listing's analysis uncovered evidence of supplication as well as glowing endorsements for entirely different products being posted on a single listing.

The investigation found that headphones, smart watches and fitness trackers are common products which are given fake reviews.

"This makes fake reviews a serious problem - at best they could mislead you into buying a product that's not as good as it appeared, at worse you could end up with something that's not even fit for goal".

The Competition & Markets Authority has raised concerns that misleading reviews can skew consumer spending worth £23billion a year across everything from home products to hotels and restaurants.

Amazon is inundated with tens of thousands of "potentially fake" five-star product reviews, a United Kingdom consumer group claims.

Which? says its findings mean that customers should take reviews with "a pinch of salt". The group found that headphones, particularly from "unknown" brands, had attracted thousands of fake reviews.

Amazon said it was using automated technology to weed out false reviews. Also on the first, page, 71% had a ideal 5-star review score and 87% of the products were unverified, or not confirmed as an Amazon purchase.

An examination of the authenticity of one of the unknown headphone brands, Cquang, suggested it barely seemed to exist.

For example, the business did not appear to be based at its claimed head office address. If they are all on the same day, or show very similar comments on different products, you should smell a rat.

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Three smartwatches had a five-star average customer rating.

In a statement emailed to ABC News, an Amazon spokesperson wrote, "Even one inauthentic review is one too many". Which? was unable to establish the source of the unverified reviews.

When it searched for headphones, it found all the products on the first page of results were from unknown brands - which it defines as ones its experts have never heard of - rather than known brands, which it defines as household names. Have a look at all of their reviews.

Investigation found many products have no record of success or independent assessment.

Amazon said it invests significant resources to protect the integrity of reviews. "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", said Amazon.

"We use a combination of teams of investigators and automated technology to prevent and detect inauthentic reviews at scale, and to take action against the bad actors behind the abuse", the statement continued.

Filter reviews to remove unverified reviews. It said customers can help by reporting any requests they get to manipulate reviews to Amazon customer service.

Neither Which? nor the Guardian were able to contact any of the brands cited in the report, or to identify the source of the suspicious reviews.

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