When something happens, such as Amazon’s recent changes, the last thing you want to do is jump to conclusions, or assume anything. Assuming does not help anyone, especially when you share your assumptions with others. That assumption could be “DEAD WRONG” and hurt another person. In particular, the people who are following your lead. This could be someone’s livelihood, this could be detrimental to anyone who follows you. I ask anyone who is reading this, please read. Please look into subjects prior to following anyone’s lead.
I know that you would hope, or believe, that if you contacted Amazon’s customer service, they would give you the advice or information that you need. That isn’t necessarily so. The training at Amazon is non existent. The majority of the time you will get a different answer based off who you talk to AND if you can understand them. The customer service at Amazon has given so many conflicting stories about the new changes, it is enough to make your head spin. I have witnessed Sellers lose their account because of a review that was left after Amazon’s change deadline. I have also seen reviewers lose their right to review completely because of the same. So what then is the answer? It’s simple. Don’t push the system. Don’t review anything on Amazon.
The fear of losing one’s business or hours spent pining over past reviews… is it worth the risk? In my opinion, No. That is just my opinion though. I am seeing all sorts of advice from others grasping for “loopholes” in the system. The main one I have been witnessing is “Don’t leave a disclaimer and you will be fine” Nooooo!!!!! Now you are not only going against Amazon’s TOS (just asking for issues) you are also going against the FTC, which can cost you a lot more than an account. Please read the The FTC Endorsement Guide for more on the subject. You will find answers to most of your questions there… not from Amazon customer service reps and definitely not through someone who “assumes” they know what they are talking about.
We have also heard (but in no way, limited to):
- “Leave the words IN EXCHANGE out of your disclaimer” from many sources (including executive support) No.
- “You do not have to leave a disclaimer if it is direct ship from Amazon” again, wrong. 20 shipments out, 20 reviews in. TARGET. one word. ALGORITHMS. Again, in violation of FTC.
- “No one has had any issues, please go about business as usual” Nope. Don’t. Things have changed. Read People.
- “Drop the price and purchase without a code for a retail purchase” Again. Nope. DO NOT REVIEW.
Amazon’s Community Guidelines are another place you should read up, although not very clear or to the point. This will give you a listing of what is now prohibited. It includes a lot of vague descriptions, leaves you with more questions, than answers. There is a lot of clarifications that are needed to be honest when it comes to certain bullet point-
- You may post content requested by Amazon (such as Customer Reviews of products you purchased on Amazon or received through the Vine program, and answers requested through Questions and Answers). In those cases, your content must comply with any additional guidelines specified by Amazon.
Once able to buy a product at Target and write a product review on Amazon, is this no longer an option? Do you (now) have to purchase on Amazon AND be requested by Amazon, in order to review it? And if this is the case, I understand why I have been receiving emails from all of the stores I purchase from to review on their store sites. Amazon may have just put a end to their “Leader in Product Reviews” claim.
- You may post an answer to a question asked through the Questions and Answers feature (but not a question itself) regarding products or services for which you have a financial or close personal connection to the brand, seller, author, or artist, but only if you clearly and conspicuously disclose the connection (e.g., “I represent the brand for this product.”). We automatically label some answers from sellers or manufacturers, in which case additional disclosure is not necessary.
Recently I purchased a Water Pump for my Father’s Birthday (retail purchase), I was sent a follow up email to review it. When I clicked to submit the review it said that I had a relationship to the seller… BUT I don’t. I have no idea who this manufacturer is, I have never had any contact with them, so how is that possible? I left well enough alone. I then received a email from Amazon asking if I could answer a question about this product and I was able to go through the link and answer it. Had I not known (average Amazon customer) that I needed to say that “I represent the brand for this product” (even though I absolutely did not) would that have risked my account and the seller I purchased it from?? Is this no longer a shopping experience but a one sided unfamiliar shopping Nazi site?
You can definitely see how things can get misunderstood and taken in different ways depending on how you read them. Which is why it is always important to read everything! If it sounds iffy, don’t do it. If none of the guidelines made a whole lot of sense to you, Don’t Review. That simple. Don’t risk your account over something you heard. After going back and reading all of those guidelines again, I’m pretty sure, had I just stumbled upon them as a retail purchaser, I would probably never leave a review on Amazon EVER. I’m there to shop, get in and get out. Too many restrictions, “Account Suspension” mentioned way too many times, and who wants so many rules while shopping? (Especially on a Saturday night, drinking wine in your bath robe) Seriously?
While I definitely think reviews are an important aspect when shopping online, Amazon has taken it to a whole new level of paranoia. Do I think some of the reviews are crap? Sure do. Am I an able bodied adult that can tell the difference between BS and honest information? Sure am. Do I need Amazon to police my every move while shopping on their site? Sure don’t. And now that I know that I am, I sure won’t.
My main point is this, When in Doubt… Don’t. It isn’t worth the risk. (Obviously when it comes to Amazon, not everything in life) LOL!