Rather, third-party sellers are tapping up employees to delete negative reviews of products, pass on reviewer email addresses for direct contact or provide sales data to give them a competitive advantage on the internet’s most popular shop.
The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in this June 8, 2017 illustration photo.
Sources said the online retailer first opened its probe into these violations of company policy in May after being alerted to suspicious activity in China.
The company has confirmed the reports of the internal investigation in a statement warning of a swift action action against the bad actors.
Amazon shares closed lower in the US Friday, ahead of reports that staff at the retail behemoth are accepting bribes in return for data, information or other actions they request to improve their competitiveness. The information is created to give the independent merchants an advantage over others on the site.
“We hold our representatives to a high moral standard and anybody disregarding our Code faces train, including end and potential legitimate and criminal punishments”, an Amazon representative said.
The report published on Sunday does not identify how deep-rooted the malaise was, but said that it observed the practice in Shenzhen in China. In some cases, merchants have even paid Amazon employees to delete the negative reviews from the website.
On Amazon, customers can buy products sold directly by the company along with goods from many other merchants. The issue will affect Amazon, as nearly half of its products are made available through third-party sellers. The brokers are said to scout for such Amazon employees on the popular messaging service known as WeChat.
Internal sales metrics can prove valuable for sellers, particularly keywords that customers type in when searching for a product.
As the CNN pointed out, the Seattle-based company has a controversial history of allegedly deceptive product reviews, with allegations dating back years.
Amazon will consider terminating accounts, deleting reviews, and withholding funds from sellers found in breach of its rules, the spokesperson said.