Amazon is useful but sometimes difficult to navigate – there is just too much choice and you can spend hours agonizing over the best product for your needs. That’s where product reviews come in. It can be tempting to trust the general public and go for whatever has the best Amazon reviews because hundreds of satisfied customers can’t be wrong, can they?

Well, it turns out that it’s not as simple as that. Predictably, some unscrupulous sellers have found a way around the system, and are artificially pushing up the overall review score of their products to levels much higher than they deserve.

“So yesterday I was looking to restock on some iPhone cables. As you can see, these look like a great deal! 6 of them for $16 (price obscured in the screenshot, but that’s what it is), and an average rating of 4.7 stars! Score! Out of sheer habit, I scrolled down to the reviews…”

“Wait, what? Clearly, these reviews are for the Kung Fu Panda movie and not for the iPhone charging cables. Growing suspicious, I sorted by “Most recent” and saw reviews about the actual charging cables… they weren’t good.”

“It turns out that out of the 857 listings, only 11 were for the charging cables, and the average of those was 2.5 stars. Being the ‘picky customer’ that I am, I contacted Amazon support and told them about the fake reviews. After a day, I got the following response:”

“All good, right? Well here’s the plot twist: All of the screenshots in this post were taken AFTER I received the above email. In fact, the listing full of fake Amazon reviews is probably still up as you’re reading this: What have I learned?

1. Amazon sellers can ‘re-purpose’ a listing with lots of good reviews to sell cheap junk to unsuspecting customers.

2. If you want to report a listing, apparently you can write to listings-report(at)amazon․com

3. But, EVEN AFTER REPORTING the issue to Amazon, the “appropriate action” for these Internet scams they take is…. to do nothing?

4. From this day forward I will now always sort by “Most Recent” to try and protect myself against this fraud.

Good to know, right? It always pays to look a little deeper when spending your hard-earned money, to ensure that sellers truly deserve it.

Here’s what people had to say about the scam

The reviews have since been updated by Amazon

What do you think? Do you always run Amazon reviews checker before buying? Do you put a lot of trust in them? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!