UPDATE: Amazon Contacts Reader About Pay-to-Play Reviews, Promises Changes

Previously: Amazon Deletes Reviews That Mention Pay For Play Review Schemes

Reader Bob, who contacted us about the manufacturer/third-party vendor bribing Amazon.com customers with free anti-snoring mouthpieces for five-star reviews and removing any reviews mentioning the free merchandise offer, heard back from Amazon’s executive customer relations department. His e-mail after the jump.

The article certainly lit a fire at Amazon!

I just hung up from a phone call from Peg Anderson in Amazon’s Executive Customer Relations department, and it went far better than I would have expected.

Amazon considers “Pay for Play” a violation of a third-party seller’s terms of service, so sales of the Anti-Snore have been suspended. I reviewed those terms, and they say: “Furthermore, any attempt to manipulate ratings of any participant is prohibited, please note that this also includes posting ratings to your own account.” Right on!

Peg said she hoped the seller would come back into alignment with the terms of service, so they could start selling the product again through Amazon. I quite agree with her, because I actually like the Anti-Snore a lot, and I think it can easily sell on its own merits without attempts to manipulate the reviews.

As far as the review deletions and ignoring questions in emails, that was a failure in the Customer Relations department. Per Amazon policy, the CR reps should have flagged the astroturfing and ethical problems raised in the reviews and emails, and escalated them. Peg said Amazon is making some further policy changes and doing rep re-training so that’s what happens in the future.

Peg also said while Amazon should be paying attention to complaints like this from any venue, the most effective way to tell them about problems with third-party sellers is via the “Report A Community Rules Violation” page: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports/contact-us

I am completely satisfied with Amazon’s response – given what happened, they seem to be doing everything possible to correct it and prevent a repeat.

Let’s hope so!

(Photo: luckypines)