Amazon and Google are being investigated because the technical giants have not done enough to protect users from false online reviews, the BBC reports. The UK Competition and Market Authority (CMA) is now formally investigating the e-commerce giant and Pixel-manufacturer of “broken consumer law”.
Why are UK consumer organizations investigating the Amazon and Google?
After the first (more general) investigation, the CMA returned to Amazon and the Google case.
This is not the first time the CMA has launched such an investigation. The first – a more general review of online businesses and what they do to protect their customers from false reviews was done last year. At the time, the CMA ran into some “more specific” concerns about Amazon and Google, leading to an ongoing investigation focusing on the two companies.
The Competition and Market Authority is the main “competition authority” in the United Kingdom. The non-ministerial CMA, which is responsible for monitoring and strengthening corporate competition, seeks to prevent and reduce anti-competitive practices. The organization’s concerns relate to whether companies are doing enough “to detect false and misleading reviews or suspicious behaviors”.
A “fake review” is considered when users post reviews of the same product range at similar times, while there is no connection between these products / companies, or when a review “indicates” that a reviewer has been paid or encouraged to write a positive review.
The CMA aims to determine whether Google and Amazon are actively following, investigating, and eliminating counterfeit and misleading reviews. Counsel examines sanctions that are or are not imposed on “fake” critics.
Case: Warning pictures
“Our concern is that millions of online retailers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations.”
Nothing has yet been confirmed as the investigation is ongoing – the CMA has not decided whether Amazon and Google have broken the law (at least at this stage). However, if Amazon and Google are found guilty of failing to protect users (when they could), the CMA may intervene and take other legal action.
This “action” can be a formal commitment from big dogs to change their habits and become more active in dealing with fake reviews. However, if these expectations are not met, it could spread to “legal action.”
An Amazon spokesman said the company used “significant resources to prevent false or encouraged reviews from appearing in our store” and promised to continue to assist the CMA with inquiries, noting that no “confirmation … or findings have been received” against Amazon.
How the online trade of fake reviews works and who is involved
The CMA is the case, but it’s not the only consumer rights organization investigating the Amazon … What? is another.
What? – a non-profit organization for consumer protection, launched its own study on how counterfeit reviews are widely traded. This explores another piece of the puzzle – who is behind the Amazon marketplace view manipulation business.
What? signed up for ten sites offering “review manipulation services” and found more than 700,000 product reviewers from just five companies; a website that claimed to be dealing with $ 8.9 million in credits on Amazon; review campaigns that claim to be able to achieve the “Amazon’s Choice” label for products in 10-14 days; and even a website that sold contacts and social media information to Amazon reviewers – which is basically a scarier version of app tracking.
AMZTigers sells individual (£ 13) and bulk packages starting at £ 620 for 50 reviews. Prices can go up to £ 8,000 from 1,000 reviews. In other words, it is a serious movement.
- A pair of Enacfire headphones that were offered to reviewers for free instead of the usual € 35 price on a review site that had collected 21,670 ratings and 4.4 star customer points on Amazon.
- A free Lavolta Acer laptop charger that also included a £ 3 charge check and had the coveted Amazon’s Choice label.
- Owkey brand Samsung Galaxy A20e cover with 226 ratings and Amazon’s Choice brand.
What? shared the above findings with Amazon, after which the “Amazon’s Choice” logo on the Lavolta charger and Owkey phone was removed. However, the rating of the Enacfire headphones continued to rise in the following months.
The UK and some other European countries are known for strict consumer law. For example, when buying a brand new iPhone from Apple in England and Wales, people are entitled to a six-year consumer law warranty from the date of delivery. That’s five years in Scotland.
In the UK, under consumer law, consumers are entitled to free repairs and (depending on the circumstances) they may be entitled to the seller to replace, reduce or return defective products or goods that do not meet the requirements. sales contract. It’s in addition to Apple’s own warranty.
If your product is defective or does not comply with the sales contract, you can make a claim under UK consumer law. Is there any certainty that the claim will be upheld? No. But it is much better than having no one to go if your product turns out to be defective and out of warranty.