Ad Alert

Gift Card for a Five-Star Amazon Review

Consumers need to be wary of undisclosed incentivized reviews.

Ad Alert

Gift Card for a Five-Star Amazon Review

After purchasing a QiSa portable electronics charger (aka a power bank) from the brand’s Amazon store, a reader received this postcard from the seller. The postcard not only thanked him for his purchase but offered a $30 Amazon gift card in exchange for writing a five-star review. Score!

But not so fast.

As we’ve noted before, Amazon prohibits sellers from offering customers “compensation of any kind” in exchange for writing reviews, regardless of whether the incentive for the review is disclosed in the review. That includes gift cards.

Perhaps this policy is why the seller instructed the reader not to mention the postcard in his Amazon review.

But the Amazon seller isn’t just running afoul of the platform’s policies; it’s also failing to comply with FTC requirements.

That’s because not only does the agency require that incentivized reviews disclose the incentive (which “may introduce bias or change the weight and credibility that readers give the review”), it also prohibits companies from offering incentives for reviews with the condition that the review must be positive in order to receive the incentive. And as the seller puts it in the gift card offer, “Firstly, give the product a Five-Star good review.”

The bottom line

If you read reviews, you’re not alone. In fact, more than 90 percent of online shoppers see what others have to say about a product or service before making a purchase. That means that reviews are incredibly important for companies trying to drive business.

So what steps can you as a consumer take to make sure you aren’t misled by a review? As always, do your research. Here, that might include reading customer reviews published on other, third-party websites, not just the seller’s platforms, before clicking “buy.” reached out to the seller and Amazon for comment. Check back for updates.

Of note, Amazon is among a number of brands accused of suppressing negative reviews about them on their platforms.

Find more of our coverage on customer reviews here.

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