Amazon staff are ‘taking bribes of more than $2,000′ from online merchants to delete bad reviews, restore banned accounts and reveal customers’ private buying trends

Monday, September 17, 2018
By Paul Martin

Report claims Amazon staff are selling customers’ data to retailers on the site
Sellers, many based in China, are buying data to gain an edge over competitors
Amazon confirmed it has been investigating the allegations for several months

17 September 2018

Amazon staff are purportedly selling confidential customer information to online vendors for payments of more than $2,000 (£1,500).

Sellers, predominantly based in China, are buying the data in a bid to gain an edge over competitors and boost sales on the online store, according to a new report.

Amazon confirmed it was investigating these new allegations, which also accused employees of offering to delete negative reviews and restore banned accounts for cash.

Fake customer reviews written by the merchants themselves were also among the probe’s chief concerns, the company said.

On Amazon, customers can buy products sold and processed directly by the company as well as goods from a number of other third-party merchants.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, which did not give figures, employees of the e-retailer sell internal data and other confidential information – usually through intermediaries – to merchants who sell their goods on the US giant’s website.

The newspaper cited anonymous sellers, brokers and others familiar with the probe.

Data sold by employees includes the email addresses of customers who have left negative reviews.

Sellers can then contact unhappy patrons and offer discounts or free products in exchange for deleting or editing bad reviews – a practice prohibited by Amazon.

Employees are also selling internal sales data, such as keywords customers typically use to search for specific items on Amazon, and other data around buying habits.

This enables sellers to build product descriptions that will be boosted in search results, enabling them to reach a greater number of people on the retail site.

The practice is a violation of company policy, as Amazon typically keeps this type of information under wraps.

The Rest…HERE

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