Report: Amazon Customers Misled by ‘Bundled’ Reviews

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, laughs as he speaks at a Washington, DC, event in September 2018. (Cliff Owen/AP Photo)
Cliff Owen/AP Photo

According to a recent report, Amazon’s practice of “bundling” reviews for different products together has resulted in inaccurate ratings of certain products.

The Guardian reports that according to a recent analysis, Amazon’s policy of bundling reviews of different products together has resulted in poor translations of classic books and terrible remakes of Hollywood films to display high star ratings and positive reviews. A study by the Guardian found that many products which have been given one-star ratings appear alongside glowing reviews for other items making it extremely hard for buyers to understand the true quality of the product they’re attempting to buy.

The Guardian listed just a few examples they found of poor products receiving amazing reviews simply due to this bundling system. The Guardian listed a few of its findings writing:

• Badly translated or updated Kindle versions of Emma by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, which include references to “moms”, “guys” and “buddies”, but appear to have 4.5-star ratings from hundreds of reviewers.

• A 2017 TV version of Dirty Dancing that shares the 4.5-star reviews of the original film, despite being described by Hollywood Reporter as a “bloated” remake “that nobody asked for and nobody is likely to truly enjoy”.

• Reviews for Wuthering Heights appearing under listings for Jane Eyre, and vice versa.

• Complaints from consumers who said they had been misled when buying books from a variety of authors – from JK Rowling to Shakespeare.

• Star ratings being combined for different products in other departments, from electronics to gardening equipment.

Complaints dating back to 2014 can be found on certain items noting that reviews were appearing under the incorrect editions of certain books. So far, Amazon has declined to comment on this issue.

A Kindle edition of the classic Charles Dickens book Great Expectations, which has a 4.5-star review rating, is reportedly riddled with errors. One review from a reader points this out, writing: “Each page has a dozen errors. It reads as if it has been translated from a foreign language. ‘Dog’ in the original is ‘canine’ in this version; ‘file’ in the original has become ‘document’; ‘tremendous’ has become ‘maximum incredible’; ‘man’ has become ‘guy’. That is just a short summary of the errors in the first two pages. The whole thing is unreadable and a waste of money.”

Natalie Hitchins, the head of home products and services at the consumer group Which? commented on Amazon’s practices, stating: “If online retailers are incorrectly grouping customer reviews for different products together, there is a real risk that their customers will be misled.” She added: “We need to know we can rely on the information that retailers provide about the products they sell. Online retailers must up their game and ensure reviews are presented in a clear and accurate way.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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