STOCKTON (CBS13) – Is Amazon editing negative reviews? A Stockton woman says her negative feedback vanished.

Within a half hour of posting a negative 2-star review on Amazon, Sandy Parker says she got a nasty email from the third party seller.

“It said. ‘please remove your lie feedback,’” she said.

She says she then realized Amazon removed the review, and won’t let her post another one. She’s upset she can’t warn others about this seller.

“Even if they completely disagreed with me, don’t call me a liar,” she said.

Amazon does say online, it only removes feedback if it’s obscene, gives a name, email address or phone number.

Sandy insists her post was clear of any of that.

Public relations expert Doug Elmets says sanitizing reviews is dangerous.

“If they are limiting what the purchaser is seeing, then it calls into question the credibility of the company,” he said.

Amazon told Sandy in a web chat, “We received a number of negative feedback about the seller.” The rep said the seller is no longer on Amazon. However, we checked and found the seller is still selling on Amazon.

CBS13 repeatedly reached out to Amazon which initially claimed it may have removed her review because it thought the seller resolved the issue thru a refund. After we pointed out that was not listed as a reason in Amazon’s own removal policy, the company admitted it made a mistake.

Amazon reposted Sandy’s review and gave her the option to revise it.

“How can I trust any purchase I make on if I can’t trust the feedback,” she said.

Amazon now tells us it removed the review accidentally. And it should never have happened.

  1. Look at more than just the reviews. Look at how the ratings stack up. A good product will have a declining number of negative ratings: lots of 5 stars, some 4-stars, fewer 3-stars, even less 2-stars, and rarer 1-stars. If you don’t see that type of profile watch out. Look for lots of ratings (hundreds, thousands) too.

    No product is perfect and there’s always customers you can never satisfy. That’s why the overall shape of the ratings profile is important: it’s a realistic portrayal of a good product. I would expect to see at least some negatives, including some highly critical ones. If I don’t see them, I begin to wonder. Those with all positive, totally wonderful ratings are suspect, especially if there’s only a few of them.

    I generally avoid 3rd party sellers because they simply don’t have the same service or fulfillment guarantee. Look to see if Amazon itself sells it. If Amazon doesn’t, that’s a red flag that Amazon itself doesn’t consider it worthy, profitable enough, or has too many returns. And that means you should screen the 3rd parties carefully, if you still want to buy it.

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