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*Update 26/07/21: It looks like banned Amazon brands are finding loop-holes and are still selling products. The infamous dodgy brand Aukey is still selling their ‘Key Series’ earbuds, one of which is enjoying paid-promotion. Make sure to follow The Verge’s very own Sean Hollister for updates on the situation in general.
We’ve all wandered to the second and third pages of Amazon looking for a cheeky bargain, and dodging featured listings normally yields a good saving providing missing out on prime delivery isn’t an issue. These cheaper and brand alternative products have some shady business practices, most notably including money off vouchers and discounts for a good review on the Amazon marketplace.
WCCFTech states that Amazon has been banning companies like this from their marketplace, which is great news, but it’s still a big problem. Asking staff around the PC Guide office adds to this, with myself and editor being propositioned when buying anything from 3D printer resin to posture correctors. Some people actually make a hobby out of providing good reviews in exchange for free/discounted products.
Fakespots creator, Saoud Khalifah announced Apple’s decision via Twitter on 16th July, stating that Fakespot will be “back stronger than ever before”. Amazon filed the original complaint against Fakespot stating it “provides customers with misleading information about our sellers and their products, harms our sellers’ businesses.” Khalifah also wrote an open letter to Amazon exec chair Jeff Bezos as he ventured into space, ending with “As you enter space while looking back on Earth, I hope you ask yourself the question: Which side am I on? The consumer or my never-ending wallet?”
At the time of writing, Fakespot is still on the Google Play store. In the UK, BBC also reported on the government’s plans on cracking down on fake reviews in multiple industries from online retail to car sales. The UK government is looking to “reform competition and consumer policy to give the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) enhanced powers to tackle consumer rip-offs and bad business practices.”
If everything goes through as planned, it will allow the CMA to act directly rather than seeking government approval in the first instance. Regardless of where we are in the world, consumer protection is key, and it looks like apps such as Fakespot have our backs alongside industry leaders. Maybe the latter only when it suits?