In an ongoing effort to safeguard consumers and small companies against fake reviews, Amazon files its first criminal complaint in Italy, its first civil lawsuit in Spain, and ten other legal actions against offenders in the US.
October 20, 2022, SEATTLE — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Amazon filed its first criminal charge in Italy and its first lawsuit in Spain as part of its ongoing legal campaign to shut down bogus review brokers. These two legal actions, along with ten other new lawsuits that have just been filed in the United States, target individuals who run more than 11,000 websites and social media groups that attempt to organize the posting of fictitious reviews on Amazon and other online stores in exchange for cash or free goods.
“Holding bad actors accountable through litigation and criminal referrals is one of many important ways that we protect customers so they can shop with confidence,” said Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s Vice President of Selling Partner Services. “In addition to continuing to advance our robust detection and prevention of fake reviews in our store, Amazon will remain relentless in identifying and enforcing against bad actors that attempt to engage in review abuse. There is no place for fake reviews on Amazon or anywhere else in the industry.”
Amazon First Criminal Complaint in Europe
The subject of Amazon’s first criminal complaint in Europe is a well-known Italian broker who deals in fake reviews. The defendant asserts to have established a network of people prepared to purchase items from Amazon and leave 5-star ratings in return for a complete refund. The fact that Amazon chose to file a criminal complaint in this matter shows how determined the corporation is to put a stop to dishonest people who take advantage of customers and business partners. In Italy, those found guilty of this kind of offense risk jail time and fines.
Additionally, Amazon filed its first civil lawsuit in Spain against Agencia Reviews, the broker of fraudulent reviews. The Spanish-based operator communicates over the instant messaging application Telegram to avoid detection and targets sellers and customers of www.amazon.es. According to Amazon’s investigations, the alleged fraudster fully reimburses customers once they write a fake 5-star review.
Along with these ground-breaking legal actions in Europe, Amazon added ten more lawsuits against false review brokers and other wrongdoers who tried to manipulate Amazon’s rating algorithms to its increasing caseload in the United States. Five German-based websites that were sending visitors to a fake review broker were also received warning letters by Amazon. Since then, by signing a letter of cease and desist, all five websites have consented to end this behavior.
Legal Actions Against Fake Reviews
To prevent false review brokers from arranging fake reviews in its shop, Amazon has invested a large amount of resources into investigating and initiating legal actions against them. A professional global team of detectives, attorneys, analysts, and other specialists locates fraudulent review brokers, compiles information about their business practices, and brings legal action against them. These legal measures are meant to expose the offenders and put an end to the fraud at its source. To permanently remove fake reviews, however, industry-wide cooperation and investment must continue. In order to strengthen identification and step up enforcement action against phony review brokers, Amazon has continued to enlist the help and assistance of other stakeholders in the business as well as government organizations, regulatory authorities, and law enforcement.
“Amazon will continue to devote significant resources to fighting fake reviews and ensuring customers have a trustworthy shopping experience,” added Mehta. “We continue to improve our proactive controls, invent new technologies and machine learning to detect bad actors, and find new ways to hold them accountable.”