Two U.S. lawmakers have asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a letter on Monday if the “Amazon’s Choice” label on certain products could be determined by fake reviews, which would trick Amazon.com shoppers into purchasing goods of inferior quality.
“We are concerned that the badge is assigned in an arbitrary manner, or worse, based on fraudulent product reviews,” Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez and Richard Blumenthal said in the letter. “The badge may be misleading consumers into thinking the products that receive this distinction are the best available products, when in fact some of the products are of inferior quality.”
Amazon has not commented on the issue.
The two lawmakers are asking the questions after a report from Buzzfeed News in June suggested that “Amazon’s Choice” labeled products are sometimes defective or faulty, and that the label could be manipulated by fake reviews.
The “Amazon’s Choice” badge was introduced in 2015, which signifies “highly-rated, well-priced” products on Amazon.com.
In 2015, Amazon sued 1,000 people who were “misleading Amazon’s customers” by selling “fake reviews of products.”
Investigative journalism outlet ProPublica has reported that Amazon uses its algorithms to steer shoppers towards Amazon products or from other companies that pay for Amazon services over cheaper deals. This is in contrast to the e-commerce giant calling itself “Earth’s most consumer-centric company.”
Amazon is currently embroiled in several controversies, with lawmakers launching an antitrust investigation into the company’s business practices and the e-commerce giant frequently being scrutinized for its tough warehouse workplace practices. The company has also been criticized for the toll its international logistics system takes on the environment.
Amazon is the largest online retailer in the U.S.
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