Crooked firms are bribing customers to leave fake reviews on Amazon in a bid to boost their sales, a Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed.
Buyers are offered items for free if they leave gushing praise on the world's biggest retail website – misleading other customers and falsely inflating the products' rankings in search results.
The scam, branded a 'disgrace' by consumer experts, comes two years after Amazon claimed that it had clamped down on so-called 'incentivised reviews' following a series of well-publicised scandals.
Five-star fraud: Two posts offering free products for glowing reviews
But this newspaper found that the practice is still rife, with conmen using Facebook to offer refunds on thousands of products for those prepared to submit glowing reviews and five-star ratings. Dubious comments have been invited for a stream of products including toys, drones, Bluetooth headphones and exercise equipment.
One Facebook group, Amazon UK Reviews, offers 10,000 items to its 8,000 members. Using the site, The Mail on Sunday posed as a buyer and contacted a seller advertising £20.99 aviator-style sunglasses. The seller asked our reporter to order a pair on Amazon, adding: 'Full refund