Reading reviews and checking star ratings on different websites are very common and this we do and on what we believe normally – but what happen when the companies fraudulently increase their reviews into “five-star.”
According to a report by the New York Times a company called VIP Deals, an Amazon merchant, has been offering its customers a complete refund on their purchase, while still allowing them to keep the item — in return for a review. The product in question is a Vipertek brand premium slim black leather case for the Kindle Fire, a fairly lucrative market given how many Kindles were sold over the holidays. VIP Deals have been selling the case for under $10 plus shipping (the official list price was $59.99).
The New York Times explains what customers experienced:
When the package arrived it included a letter extending an invitation “to write a product review for the Amazon community.”
“In return for writing the review, we will refund your order so you will have received the product for free,” it said.
While the letter did not specifically demand a five-star review, it broadly hinted. “We strive to earn 100 percent perfect ‘FIVE-STAR’ scores from you!” it said.
VIP deals has no web site and uses a mailbox drop in Los Angeles as a return address, and last week had received 4,945 reviews on Amazon for a nearly perfect 4.9 rating out of five.