At Christmas, I bought some electronic drums from my eldest daughter’s fiancee. They were lacking sticks, so I bought some. However, I only got around to reviewing them the other day – these are my first ever drumsticks so I didn’t have much to say.
So, it wasn’t the best review but… I wasn’t expecting what came next.
Thank you for submitting a customer review on Amazon. After carefully reviewing your submission, your review could not be posted to the website. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines: Amazon Community Guidelines
What did I say? Here’s the review, as taken from their own email to me…
And then, later, I received another email from Amazon.
Amazon has noticed some unusual reviewing activity on this account. As a result, we removed all of this account’s reviews. It is no longer able to contribute reviews, comments, customer questions and answers, and other content.
Why is this happening?
Customer reviews are meant to provide unbiased product feedback to help customers make informed purchase decisions. Our goal is to provide Customer Reviews to help customers make informed purchase decisions. Any reviews that could be viewed as advertising, promotional, or biased will not be posted.
This account can no longer contribute any content for one or more of the following reasons:
— Elements of the account indicate a relationship to sellers, publishers, or other reviewers of the products you review.
— Reviews were posted in exchange for compensation, such as gift cards to purchase the product, product refunds, review swaps, or free or discounted products.
— The account requested free or discounted products in exchange for reviews.
— The account was created for the primary purpose of writing biased reviews.
— An unauthorized party may have accessed this account to write reviews.
The result of all this? I can’t submit new reviews, answer questions and my Amazon profile had been complete wiped of all reviews – hundreds, at the very least. Years of adding reviews, trying to improve feedback for the rest of the community.
Their customer service won’t talk to me about it and my only choice is to email a “community help” account. I did get a reply but it was answering a totally different question that I never asked. I replied but they never responded.
What can I do? Probably nothing.
To say I’m a regular customer would be an understatement and the power that the company wields has got me thinking about this. Longer term, I think my custom is going to change.
For the last few months I’ve been chasing up Amazon about this after it became apparent that the inability to write reviews was in no way the biggest issue here. As I mentioned before, I can’t ask product questions either, and this is seriously hampering my buying ability.
Each time I contact them, using the email that they supply, I get the same canned response (just a different name at the end)…
We’d be happy to research the situation with the review you are reporting, but unfortunately I couldn’t find the review based on the information in your message.
At your convenience, please report possible violations of Customer Review Guidelines by clicking the “Report abuse” link near the content.
If no “Report abuse” link is available, please write back to us with the ASIN or ISBN of the item reviewed, the title of the review, and date of the review as it appears on our website. This should help us find the review so we can take the appropriate action. You can also send us a direct link to the review by clicking the “Comments” link after the review, and copy/pasting the URL that displays in your web browser.
We appreciate your understanding. We hope to see you again soon.
Which, is not actually related to the issue. You can’t reply to that email so you have to start again. Eventually, the message got through and a couple of days ago they replied with this…
Amazon previously sent you an email explaining that we had detected unusual review and rating activity associated with this account, leading us to remove all of its reviews and ratings, and restricting it such that it is no longer able to contribute reviews, ratings, customer questions and answers, and other related Community content. As a result of your inquiry regarding this action, we reviewed this case and our decision thoroughly and have come to the same conclusion. We will not restore this account’s ability to contribute with Community content.
So, that’s it. There’s no argument. No arbitration. And they don’t want to offer any proof of what I’ve allegedly done (mainly because they can’t. Even if I was writing reviews for benefits – I wasn’t – there’s no way for them to prove this absolutely).
All of this has made me appreciate how fragile these business relationships are. Surely I can say “sod this” and just not use them anymore. But so much of my life is tied into them, it’s really hard to just do that. They have me over the proverbial barrel and they know it. I have to sit down, keep quiet and do what I’m told.
But, they don’t know me. After being “the most Google person I’ve ever known” (according to a friend of mine… who works for Google) and now barely touching them, I can do the same here, and will. Like Google, my relationship won’t disappear but, by God, it’s going to dramatically reduce. Those little Apple HomePods are looking a lot more intriguing now…
One reply on “The day Amazon locked my account… for reviewing some drumsticks”
I got this same message from Amazon today. I talked to 5 online and phone support people and got the same bizarre generic “review-appeals” email followed by the piss-off-its-final email exactly as you did. They wanted me to produce evidence that I was innocent without ever telling me what I supposedly did. It will be hard to close my Amazon account completely, but very easy to spend 95+% of my money elsewhere. They have far too much power.