The Integrity of Amazon Consumer Reviews

Along with most red blooded Texans, I love to barbeque on the back deck. From smoking a brisket to grilling chicken, and any other fish, fowl, pork, or beef in between, there are few ways I’d rather spend a Sunday afternoon.

But we Texans are not the only ones inextricably attracted to the peppery, sweet, smokey aromas emanating from our back deck. No, unfortunately, bbq always means flies. And lots of them. Zipping around the grill, and inevitably, into our house.

And if my love of barbeque has an equal and opposite reaction, it’s my hatred of flies buzzing around inside of my house.

With that in mind, I was grilling some chicken on the back deck a few weeks ago, picking off flies with a Bug-a-salt (way more fun than it even sounds), and pulled out my phone, searching Amazon for 21st century solutions to the flies-in-my-house problem. Surely we’ve IoT-automated away our fly problem by 2017?

I immediately stumbled upon an unusually highly rated product — 4.5 stars over 2,621 reviews for the “Pest Soldier Electronic Plug Ultrasonic Pest Control Repeller for Insects — White, Set of 4”.

So I snapped it up, and figured, what the heck, I’ll give this a shot.

The result was underwhelming. Undetectable, even. There’s no difference, with or without these gadgets plugged in around my kitchen. It was worth a shot. Burned thirty-something dollars. Live and learn. Flies don’t respect ultrasonic annoyances. Ah well.

About a month later, I receive this email, which made me wrinkle my nose a little, asking me to review this product on Amazon, and receive a $25 gift card.

I ignored it.

Three days later, a “reminder”, which I also ignored.

And then, three days later, a third nagging email:

At which point, I did reply:

And I wrote this review.

At this point, things went from bad to worse. I was immediately offered a full refund, and an extra $40 to delete the review.

Wow. Simply, wow. Reading through the other negative reviews of this product, I see multiple reviewers saying they were offered money to delete their critical reviews.

Along with so many of you, we place our trust in the honest and integrity of Amazon’s customer review system. And yet it’s being systematically gamed by sellers such as this.

I’ve reported the product and the seller per Amazon’s instructions, but I for one am a bit more skeptical about Amazon reviews from now on.

Now, I just wonder…

How much will Pest Soldier offer me to delete this blog post?

Cheers,
:-Dustin

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