- Following previous fake reviewer lawsuits, Amazon filed lawsuits alleging AppSally and Rebatest coordinated the posting of false product reviews in exchange for money or free items.
- Amazon says that it investigated the brokers and found that they both were responsible for organizing more than 900,000 members who were "willing to write fake reviews."
- In its announcement, Amazon alleged the companies posted false reviews on eBay, Walmart and Etsy as well as its own site. The e-commerce giant said AppSally sells false reviews for "as low as $20." AppSally and Rebatest did not immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for comment regarding the lawsuits.
In its efforts to stop fraudulent activity on its platform, Amazon has repeatedly turned to the courts. In 2015, the company sued a California man for allegedly running multiple fake review websites. The following year, the company sued three merchants on its platform for using fake accounts to share positive reviews about their own products.
The company said that AppSally sends fraudulent reviewers empty boxes and instructs "bad actors" to provide the company with photos to upload with the reviews. Rebatest, according to Amazon, pays people for writing 5-star reviews once their reviews are approved by fraudsters selling those products.
"Fake review brokers attempt to profit by deceiving unknowing consumers and creating an unfair competitive advantage that harms our selling partners," Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of WW Customer Trust and Partner Support at Amazon, said in a statement. "We know how valuable trustworthy reviews are to our customers. That is why we are holding these review fraudsters accountable. While we prevent millions of suspicious reviews from ever appearing in our store, these lawsuits target the source."
Amazon said that in 2020 it prevented more than 200 million possible fake reviews before they were visible to online shoppers.
But it's not just fake reviews that Amazon is fighting in court. The retailer has also teamed up with brands like Salvatore Ferragamo, HanesBrands, Valentino and KF Beauty to sue sellers of counterfeit products on its platform.