The majority of the items on Amazon’s online marketplace aren’t truly from Amazon these days. Third-party vendors account for roughly 56% of all products sold on the platform. These vendors are no longer allowed to send direct emails to their Amazon consumers. Doing so outside of Amazon established channels is against the platform’s terms of service.
However, according to a disturbing new Wall Street Journal report, some sellers are still finding ways to contact buyers and hound them about editing or deleting their negative reviews. Some companies even offer email extraction and reviewer lookup services to help sellers track down disgruntled customers.Katherine Scott, a New Yorker who told the Journal that she posted a negative review for a kitchen oil spray bottle she bought in March when it didn’t operate as described, is one such consumer. A week later, she received an email from someone purporting to be a customer care representative from the vendor, offering her a refund in return for deleting her review.
The message via Journal said, “We are willing to refund in full. When we do not receive a response, we will assume that you did not see it, and will continue to send emails. We hope you can reconsider deleting comments at your convenience okay?” When Scott requested a refund but refused to remove her review, she received an email from another agent asking her $20 to remove it, which was more than double what she paid for the product.
Over the next two months, she received a slew of more unwelcome letters, all pleading with her to remove her review. At least a dozen additional customers who left poor reviews for identical products said the merchant contacted them and urged them to change their minds. Another Amazon consumer, Ben Hendin of Tulsa, Oklahoma, told the publication that after leaving a poor review of a finger splint, a vendor contacted him four times.