Reviews on Amazon are important. They play a huge role in how product rankings are determined. Consistently getting good reviews on your products will ensure that Amazon ranks your products higher on search result pages, and recommend your products to customers more often. The easiest way to get good reviews on amazon is by providing your customers with an exceptional product, but some sellers decide to go with a bit of an underhanded approach.
Some sellers like to include “Amazon gift cards” with the items you purchase. Although these gift cards look legit, a closer inspection will reveal that they actually offer a discount through a third-party service in exchange for a good review. For some, this might seem like a good opportunity to get a discount on purchased goods, but is this even legal?
Are Amazon Gift Cards In Exchange For Reviews Allowed?
The Amazon terms of service explicitly forbids Incentivized reviews. If Amazon detects that your seller account has been compensating customer accounts in exchange for reviews, you risk getting your account suspended or banned altogether. This goes for any third party that you may be associated with, so don’t think you can get around it by offering discounts through a third-party service.
If you are an Amazon customer, you could have your review privileges revoked for accepting a gift card in exchange for a review as well.
If you take a look at Amazon’s community guidelines, you will see that it isn’t just gift cards that are forbidden. There are a wide range of bannable offenses, including:
- Selling prohibited items
- Operating multiple seller accounts
- Having friends or family members leave positive reviews on your page
- Making a customer account to leave reviews on your own items
- Inaccurate listings
- Leaving negative reviews on competitor’s pages
So the short answer is no. It is not allowed to give gift cards in exchange for positive reviews. Some sellers try to get around this rule by including the fake gift cards with the items they ship to you.
Since the physical card is not an electronic communication through amazon, this type of thing is harder to detect, but Amazon can still suspend or ban your seller account if they think you’re up to something.
If you want to learn more about Amazon’s policies in regards to reviews and gift cars, keep reading…
Can You Give A Gift Card For An Amazon Review?
If you’re operating as a seller on Amazon.com, and you want to get good reviews quickly, it might seem like a good idea to offer people discounts or other services in exchange for reviews.
Typically, this takes the form of an official-looking “Amazon gift card” which is actually a link to a third-party service where the customer can get a discount if they confirm their review through Amazon.
Although some sellers get away with doing this, it is a bannable offence, so it’s definitely risky if you don’t want to get suspended or banned. Even still, Amazon has trouble keeping up with the more insidious repeat-offenders, so it’s impossible to guarantee that a review on an Amazon product was not paid for or compensated by the seller.
Can You Get In Trouble For Amazon Reviews?
Amazon’s community guidelines and terms-of-service say that paying for a review is against the rules, but can you actually get in trouble for leaving an incentivized review? If you order an item from a seller on Amazon, and you notice one of these “amazon gift cards” offering you a discount or other compensation, it can be tempting to just go along with it.
After all, Amazon is concerned with sellers buying reviews, right? Can a customer writing a review get in trouble as well?
Unfortunately, yes. If Amazon finds that a seller has been paying for reviews, customers who left reviews for that seller will often be investigated to see if their reviews were legitimate.
Although taking compensation for a review as a customer is not illegal, it is still against Amazon’s terms of service, and can get you into a lot of hot water with Amazon.
In some cases, nothing will happen, but writing incentivized reviews opens your account up to the risk of being suspended or banned altogether. In some cases, even if your account is not suspended or banned, Amazon will remove any reviews you’ve written from that account, and ban you from writing any product reviews in the future, as well.
So, if you want to avoid getting in trouble with your customer account, always be honest with your product reviews, and don’t involve yourself in any shady pay-for-review type schemes.
Amazon has ways of knowing what you’re up to even if the offer is handled through a third-party website, so it’s always a good idea to stay on-the-level.
Is It Illegal To Give A Discount For A Review?
So now we’ve taken a look at Amazon’s community guidelines and established that it is a bannable offense to compensate users for positive reviews. Obviously, some sellers still choose to take this risk, but is this activity even legal?
This question is a bit complex, since Amazon operates in a number of different countries that all have different laws about things like copyright and exchange protection.
However, since Amazon is headquartered in the United States, it can generally be assumed that U.S. exchange laws apply to all Amazon services.
Specifically, incentivized reviews can possibly violate New York Executive Law § 63(12), New York General Business Law §§ 349 and 350, and the FTC Endorsement Guidelines.
To answer the question, yes, it is illegal to offer customers a discount, payment, or other compensation in exchange for a positive review. However, although it is counted as false advertising if you do not indicate the compensation, you can technically pay for reviews if you indicate that the review was compensated.
In other words, compensated reviews are only illegal if you do not indicate that the reviewer was compensated.
If you’re worried about breaking any laws, the best rule-of-thumb is to simply be honest about your advertising. If you absolutely must pay for a positive review, make sure that those reading it will know that it was compensated.
That way, you won’t get charged with anything nasty such as false advertising.
Amazon does not allow any form of incentivized reviews. Offering discounts or gift cards in exchange for reviews can get you account banned.
Customers who accept these gift cards for reviews can also land in hot water with Amazon. They can be investigated and have their review privileges revoked.