Disclosure

* Disclosure: I often receive free or discounted products in exchange for unbiased product reviews. This in no way influences my product reviews. All opinions are based on my own personal experiences with the products. I always do my best to provide fair, unbiased reviews because I appreciate honest reviews. This page includes affiliate links.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Amazon Deletes Reviews Without Warning, Then Changes Rules To Justify Actions

It appears that Amazon has changed the rules at some point in the last couple of days.

The rules previously stated only that, "To write a Customer Review, you must have used your account to purchase any item or service on Amazon (free digital content doesn’t qualify toward this requirement.)"

Today it says, "To post a review, customers must spend at least $5.00 using a valid credit or debit card. Prime subscriptions and promotional discounts don't qualify towards the $5.00 minimum. Customers in the same household cannot submit a review for the same product."

All of the reviews I have written were in compliance at the time they were written, and were still in compliance two days ago, but are not in compliance according to the new rules posted either last night or this morning.

They have removed all of my reviews and tell me I am in violation and will no longer be allowed to post reviews. The reviews were in compliance at the time they were removed. I know because I double checked the rules to see if there were something I missed that would have made them non-compliant.

The reviews were removed somewhere between Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. The rules were changed sometime late Thursday night or Friday morning, after I sent them an email questioning the removal of my reviews. Amazon removed my reviews as well as the reviews of many others without cause or justification, and then changed the rules to justify their actions.

While I do understand that there are some on Amazon as well as other sites who may be dishonest and perhaps even accept payment or other compensation to post false reviews, there are many others who do not. Amazon is falsely accusing many of wrongdoing without cause or justification.

I see this as discriminating against an entire group of people because of a few who might not be honest. In much the same way that one black criminal (could substitute white, hispanic, etc. here) does not make the entire black community bad, or one corrupt police officer does not indicate that all police officers are bad, or one bully in the school does not mean all children are evil, or one dishonest reviewer does not make all reviewers bad.

In all reality, I have seen reviewers who claim to have paid full price, deliberately rate products as one or two stars while saying how wonderful the product was. Are they trying to compensate for their perceived dishonest voting of someone else? The same applies to those who are voting that a review is not helpful simply because it contains the required disclaimer. Unless you have proof that the review is not true, you cannot possibly say that anyone else is lying just because they happen to like (or dislike) the product and your opinion of the product is different. The addition of the required disclaimer does not automatically make the review fake.

If you write reviews on Amazon, no matter whether you paid full price for the products or not, you could fall victim to their deceitful practices. There was no warning or notification, but now suddenly products costing less than five dollars CANNOT be reviewed by ANYONE without clear violations to their stated policy. According to the new rules, ANY items purchased with a gift card, even if you bought the gift card, are also ineligible to be reviewed by ANYONE.

Even items purchased using credits refunded by Amazon themselves for an overcharge or a returned item are ineligible, since it is only permissible to review items you paid more than $5 for AND you used a valid credit or debit card to purchase them. Furthermore, the new rules state that "free digital content doesn’t qualify toward this requirement" which clearly says that any of the free eBooks offered on Amazon will no longer be able to be reviewed by ANYONE.

Since there is nothing in the wording of the new rules to the contrary, one can only assume that the Amazon Vine program is being eliminated immediately since Amazon has always allowed these "special" members to review products received for free, but now says customers must pay at least $5 for the items in order to review them, and does not add any special circumstances which allow these "special" members permission to violate these new rules.

From what I am seeing so far, I expect a major loss for Amazon for implementing such an extreme change in policies without even bothering to consider the consequences. This a major case of biting the hand that feeds you. I personally am disgusted with this sad excuse for a company that I have been a strong supporter for up until this most recent change in policy.

Even though I have been an Amazon affiliate for a while, I can no longer recommend that anyone purchase products from a company who treats their customers with such contempt and disregard. The majority of my online purchasing has been on the Amazon website for a very long time, but will be shifting to other sites if they wish to treat their customers in such a way.


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