Many of the brands affected offered products that were extremely popular on the platform, regularly appearing in bestseller lists and bearing the Amazon’s Choice badge.
The move follows the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launching a formal investigation into Amazon and Google over concerns neither is doing enough to tackle fake reviews, and to determine whether the two sites have broken consumer law.
Which? reached out to Amazon for more information on the apparent purge. Although it did not respond to its specific questions, it did reiterate that ‘We are relentless in protecting our store and will take action to stop fake reviews regardless of the size or location of those who attempt this abuse’.
Which? research published in June looked into best-selling Amazon products that showed signs of fake and incentivised review practice, and revealed repeated claims from buyers of being offered incentives for positive reviews, or to change negative reviews. Among the brands were Apeman, Enacfire and Victure – and alongside several other listings, all of these brands appear to have been removed from the site.
Says Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy, said:
“We have repeatedly exposed fake and incentivised reviews on Amazon, so it is positive to see Amazon take action and remove a number of Chinese-based sellers using these reviews from its site.
“However, further action is needed to address the ongoing problems caused by misleading reviews on Amazon and other online marketplaces. The CMA investigation must work quickly to get to the bottom of the problem of fake and misleading reviews.
“The government must also give online platforms greater legal responsibility for tackling fraudulent content on their sites – including fake and incentivised review activity.”