Amazon - Paying for 5-Star Reviews
Problem: Paying for 5-star reviews
I needed a hands-free earpiece for my cell phone while I’m teleworking. I found the Bluetooth Headset, ICOMTOFIT Wireless Bluetooth Earpiece, V5.0 Hands-Free Earphones with Noise Cancellation Mic for/Business/Office/Driving, Compatible with Android (Green) and ordered one, and I have had no issues with the device itself, it has worked exactly like it should and I didn’t notice anything wonky about the product description.
Inside the box that the hands-free device came in, was a little thank you card and a giveaway contest card, which you scratch off to see what you have won. I won a “First Prize” in the giveaway contest. I simply needed to show proof of purchase in order to claim my prize. Now I knew exactly what was going on, but I wanted to see exactly how this works, so I played along.
IAW the instructions on the card, I sent an email to claim my “First Prize”. It didn’t take long for Keisha to reach out to me and step me through the process. I had a choice between winning a free Bluetooth handsfree as I had purchased or a set of ICOMTOFIT wireless earbuds.
I was shocked to see that 1. I got a reply; 2. Keisha was offended by my statement. In her reply, she also sent me a UPS tracking number. She also asked me if I’m interested in being a VIP to test other new items for free.
I already knew what would happen if Amazon found out that I was participating in paid reviews, yet, they have a badge for being a “Top 10 Reviewer” and one for “#1 Hall of Fame”, both are given to Amazon customers with a high number of reviews. Amazon states that they will remove your account and not allow you to purchase from the site in the future. Well, I didn’t want to jeopardize my Amazon Prime membership, I mean how else can I get hundreds of free cardboard boxes each month?
Keisha kept reassuring me that this wasn’t a SCAM, and proceeded to explain to me “You need to place an order on Amazon and we will refund your order by PayPal or E-amazon gift card after your order. After you receive it, you can keep the product and then help us write a review on Amazon. And if you don’t have extra funds, we can send you money before your order to buy it.”
Well, that certainly sounds like a pay-to-play SCAM to me, but Keisha insisted that this was on the up and up. I asked her, what would happen if I didn’t like the product, was a required to give a positive review? She replied that before I left a review on Amazon, I work with her to resolve the problems so I would be able to leave 5 stars. She also told me that the first product would be a Bluetooth headset.
She told me that I needed to find the item on Amazon.com and place it in my cart and show her a screenshot of my cart and she would send me the $49.99 for the product. This is where I stopped responding as I had the info that I needed for a blog post in the future.
A little research and I found out that Keisha is based in China and she was pretty much relentless for a few weeks, trying to get me to play.