Refund for a review - Scam?

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manithree
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wle wrote:
manithree wrote:
So, as long as the seller/manufacturer is discounting or giving me the product (specifically before I write the review), not actually paying me for the review, I don’t feel like I’m violating the TOS. And I never shy away from negatives on the review, regardless of how much I paid.

what if they said would not reimburse til they liked the review, yet you already paid amazon for it?

I already covered that.

Scallywag
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I turned it down also. I’d probably accept for a light I wanted, but my review would state that I got the light in exchange for the review.

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I feel the average Amazon flashlight customer could actually benefit from a BLF member review. It could help them separate the crap from the garbage. As long as the company doesn’t say it must be a 5 star.

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Scallywag wrote:
I turned it down also. I’d probably accept for a light I wanted, but my review would state that I got the light in exchange for the review.

That (receiving merchandise in exchange for the review) is a direct violation of Amazon’s rules.

So a person is damned is they do or damned if they don’t….

Lightbringer
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From a “safety”(?) standpoint, there’s near-zero risk doing a review on Amazon. They screw you on the rebate, you return the item, get back your bux, and can then be free to trash the product as much as you want even out of spite. So it’d be stoopit of them to not give you that rebate or whatever.

Best, though, is to make sure that it’s something that you’d want to keep for yourself (or at least give as a gift). If it’s something you don’t want, and would likely just throw it out, you’re not doing anyone any favors by reviewing it. I got a few queries about reviewing items I had no interest in, and politely declined.

More important, though, is to try to ascertain if it’s good enough for you to be honest in your review. If it’s a “10000lm zoom AA tactical light” that looks like a mutant SK68, there’s no way you can give an honest review, let alone 5 stars. 100lm, maybe if you’re lucky, but… How can you not trash it in a review?

So assuming it looks nice, fits the description, seems honestly advertised, and is something you think you could honestly review, why not? (Repetitive word in there is “honestly”, so if there’s anything that seems deceitful, just pass, and don’t wrestle with your conscience. It ain’t worth the grief.)

One thing I’ve done in the past is to stress, “Okay, but I’ll do an honest review, is that okay?”. If you get the “No, we want 5-star!” demand, just pass. Say thanks-but-no-thanks, and don’t respond any more. Those are typically the 10000lm zoomie products, garbage, so don’t even bother.

 

Curious which is “brand S” everyone’s going on about, though. LOL Ofirn? Unwayman? Treamlight? I feel so left out…

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Lightbringer
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wle wrote:
there are other things you could review

ie, they might say ‘ if you do not dive, then say that, but you can still review functions, quality, ui, price, reputation, waterproofness in a bathtub, etc ‘

That’s what I did, in a utility sink. LOL Okay, so maybe not diving, but at least snorkeling.

Those dive-lights are quite nice, though! No problem giving them a great review. After I reviewed one I bought another on my own dime.

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Joshk
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Lightbringer wrote:
From a “safety”(?) standpoint, there’s near-zero risk doing a review on Amazon. They screw you on the rebate, you return the item, get back your bux, and can then be free to trash the product as much as you want even out of spite. So it’d be stoopit of them to not give you that rebate or whatever.

I read they do not pay until the return window is closed to protect themselves from that.

In order to get paid, you need to post a 5-star verified review and be stuck with it.

manithree
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I just got a request from Wurkkos, so given the timing, that might be what the OP is referring to. As per my usual, I responded:

Quote:
If I’m allowed to give unbiased reviews without violating Amazon’s terms of service, I would be interested.

I haven’t gotten a response (it’s only been a few hours), but it’s a dive light that looks a lot like my Sofirn SD05, so I’m interested in it.

wle
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S is probably sofirn

as far as getting paid for an ‘‘approved review’‘, at least on amazon, you can delete or edit your review at any time…

…if you were really mad at company “S”, or whatever.

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MtnDon
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Joshk wrote:

I read they do not pay until the return window is closed to protect themselves from that.

In order to get paid, you need to post a 5-star verified review and be stuck with it.

That makes sense from their point of view. The more I think about this the more annoyed I get. I guess I shouldn’t think about it.

At the same time I begin to doubt whether or not I am even going to bother giving this company any good reviews even when I am very happy with something I have spent my own money on. We’ve established that they have rather loose morals so why would I want to give a positive review, even if genuine, when I know that any other 5 star reviews on any of their other products may be bogus?

manithree
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MtnDon wrote:
That (receiving merchandise for the review) is a direct violation of Amazon’s rules.

Do you have a source for that?

mattlward
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I have no problem with this idea… however… it goes against Amazon policy. The idea is a verified purchase gets more weight in the grand scheme of things.

EDC rotation:
FW1A, LH351D 4000k (second favorite)
FW3A, LH351D 3500k
FW3A, SST20 FD2 4000k
FW3A, Nichia 4000k sw40 r9080 (favorite light!)
FW3A, Cree XP-L Hi 5A3
Emisar D4V2, SST20 4000k

MtnDon
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manithree wrote:
MtnDon wrote:
That (receiving merchandise for the review) is a direct violation of Amazon’s rules.

Do you have a source for that?

The article that I linked to states “Amazon has banned giving away free products in exchange for reviews”.

In this case where they refund or pay you via PayPal they are circumventing Amazon so some folks will look at that as gray at worst. However violating the intent by other means is still shady.

People being are okay with this sort of thing, taking part, helps explain some of the issues we have in this country and others. Sure, if I don’t take part it may not be noticed, probably will make no difference. But for me, it is the right thing to do, or not to do. I’ve said enough.

MtnDon
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from https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201967050

The following are types of reviews that we don’t allow and will remove:

A review by someone who has a direct or indirect financial interest in the product.
A review by someone perceived to have a close personal relationship with the product’s owner, author, or artist.
A review by the product manufacturer, posing as an unbiased shopper.
Multiple negative reviews for the same product from one customer.
A review in exchange for monetary reward.
A review of a game in exchange for bonus in-game credits.
A negative review from a seller on a competitor’s product.
A positive review from an artist on a peer’s album in exchange for receiving a positive review from them.

Lightbringer
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Joshk wrote:
Lightbringer wrote:
From a “safety”(?) standpoint, there’s near-zero risk doing a review on Amazon. They screw you on the rebate, you return the item, get back your bux, and can then be free to trash the product as much as you want even out of spite. So it’d be stoopit of them to not give you that rebate or whatever.

I read they do not pay until the return window is closed to protect themselves from that.

In order to get paid, you need to post a 5-star verified review and be stuck with it.

Whoa! Screw that.

Any comped (and often not fully, either, because I don’t have an account linked with PP, so PP takes its vig right off the top) reviews I ever did, I got the rebate or whatever it’s called right after the item shipped, or at worst shortly after it was delivered. I don’t think I ever had to wait for a review to even be posted, let alone past the return window. (That to me seems to say they’re confident enough in the product to not hold anything hostage on you.)

I understand those “review clubs” do that (waiting ‘til past the return window), though. So I’d have to wonder what kind of crap is being sold that you have to be backed into a corner before getting comped.

Nah, if I posted a review, I’d expect to see the comp within a few days. If not, I’d ask about it, what’s going on, etc., and if still no joy, screw it, I’m out, I’m returning the doodad well before the window closes.

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Joshk
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manithree wrote:
MtnDon wrote:
That (receiving merchandise for the review) is a direct violation of Amazon’s rules.

Do you have a source for that?

Direct from Amazon to all sellers in a “Newsletter”:

Policy Reminder: Product Packaging and Inserts
Customer reviews help customers make informed purchase decisions and are a great source of suggestions about how to improve your products. Authentic customer reviews help new customers find and evaluate your products before purchasing. We want to remind you that Amazon policies prohibit box inserts and product packaging that direct customers to write a positive review, even if no incentive is offered for the review. Similarly, directing customers to contact you instead of leaving a negative review on Amazon is also prohibited. Please ensure your product packaging and box inserts are compliant with these policies before shipping your products to a fulfillment center or to customers. If you have products that are already in fulfillment centers and are in violation of Amazon’s policies, you can create a removal order to proactively remove your inventory.

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Joshk wrote:
If Amazon finds out what you and the seller did they will ban you both from their site. Not to mention you are scamming me if you get away with it and I trust your review.

Haha you are very naive because most reviews are like that.

manithree
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MtnDon wrote:
manithree wrote:
MtnDon wrote:
That (receiving merchandise for the review) is a direct violation of Amazon’s rules.

Do you have a source for that?

The article that I linked to states “Amazon has banned giving away free products in exchange for reviews”.

Yeah, but that’s buzzfeed. Not exactly a trusted source for, well, anything.

MtnDon wrote:
from https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201967050

The following are types of reviews that we don’t allow and will remove:

A review in exchange for monetary reward.

Uh, yeah, I wasn’t really asking you to send me the link I already posted. That doesn’t say that Amazon has banned free products in exchange for reviews.

Since Amazon specifically states “monetary reward,” that completely leaves open the prospect of in-kind rewards like free merchandise.

So, once again, do you have an Amazon source that says giving away merchandise for reviews is banned?

manithree
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Joshk wrote:
manithree wrote:
MtnDon wrote:
That (receiving merchandise for the review) is a direct violation of Amazon’s rules.

Do you have a source for that?

Direct from Amazon to all sellers in a Newsletter

Are we talking about the same thing? If there’s something in there that bans sending free merchandise to reviewers, I don’t see it.

PBWilson
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I have been asked by Sofirn if I would like to review their products in exchange for a refund and I have taken them up on it a few times.

I have shared my thoughts on those lights, pros and cons, on this forum and even heard back from Sofirn about possible upgrades on newer versions of their lights (better switch, faster ramping, different UI, etc.). I wouldn’t review a product that I wouldn’t normally use and I wouldn’t review a product that is obviously not what they claim it to be. I’ve bought a number of Sofirn lights on my own and would do so again. That’s why I was happy to share my thoughts. I also have made sure to state that I was gifted the light so there is no confusion.

I don’t really have a problem with it as long as I’m not being asked to write anything that I’m not comfortable with or if the refund was dependent on a stellar review. I can see that someone may be a bit over-generous if the light was a gift and if they might like to keep receiving more lights though.

hank
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Quote:
If there’s something in there that bans sending free merchandise to reviewers, I don’t see it. …

‘oogled that question for you.

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/G201972160

Quote:
We do not permit reviews, or votes on the helpfulness of reviews, that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including any of the following:

Payment (including money or gift cards)
Refund or reimbursement, including through non-Amazon payment methods
Free product
Entry to a prize drawing or competition
Discounts on future purchases
Other gifts

Commas and bold font added for readability.

manithree
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hank wrote:

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/G201972160

Quote:
We do not permit reviews, or votes on the helpfulness of reviews, that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including any of the following:

Payment (including money or gift cards)
*Refund or reimbursement, including through non-Amazon payment methods
Free product*
Entry to a prize drawing or competition
Discounts on future purchases
Other gifts

That does cover it. Odd that the information to buyers appears to be much more lenient.

As a buyer, I don’t think I’m violating the terms as Amazon specifies them to me. The seller clearly is.

hank
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You’re not a buyer if you don’t pay for the thing you receive.
You’re not a buyer if you have a deal that you will pay and be reimbursed the money you paid.

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/t/refunds-for-product-reviews/6558

Quote:
If you email the customer with ANY hint of compensation for a review, you can be suspended. If you say they will be:

Rewarded
Compensated
Given a special gift
Given a refund
Given a credit
Given a toe nail clipping
Thanked with the gift of a credit

You will be suspended in due time, mostly because people will report the attempted bribery to Amazon. It does happen, even if you have the best of products and worked perfectly for said customer.

manithree
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hank wrote:
You’re not a buyer if you don’t pay for the thing you receive. You’re not a buyer if you have a deal that you will pay and be reimbursed the money you paid.

Then there’s even less contractual incentive to be bound by the TOS.

And Thorfire (I think, mighta been Sofirn) just gave me a discount code for 90% off once. Pretty sure I was the buyer in that case.

Lightbringer
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What about vipons, then? If I buy a powerbank for 10bux that costs 30, and review it, is that a nono?

If so, I’m wondering what’s the diff between vipon giving me a coupon vs the seller for the same percentage/amount.

Hell, I’ve even explicitly mentioned in reviews getting/using a vipon to get the goodies, never suffered any blowback.

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hank
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I ‘oogled your question. Among the hits resulting, this looked relevant:

https://www.frugalforless.com/10-amazon-review-sites-that-will-get-you-f...

Looks like Vipon started off as an Amazon review mill. Perhaps it still is, basically they’re basing their reputation on yours for honest reviews.
I’d think both Amazon’s and the FTC’s rules would apply, since Vipon is just doing a man-in-the-middle job between you and Amazon’s sellers.

Quote:
2. AMZ Review Trader

Update: AMZ Review Trader has changed its name to Vipon.

AMZ Review Trader is different in the fact that instead of being able to review one product at a time, you can review up to 20…..

… It’s extremely important to leave reviews with this one, as they constantly check and want to make sure that you’re going to be fair in keeping your word about leaving a review.

hank
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hank wrote:
I ‘oogled your question. Among the hits resulting, this looked relevant:

https://www.frugalforless.com/10-amazon-review-sites-that-will-get-you-f...

Looks like Vipon started off as an Amazon review mill. Perhaps it still is, basically they’re basing their reputation on yours for honest reviews.
I’d think both Amazon’s and the FTC’s rules would apply, since Vipon is just doing a man-in-the-middle job between you and Amazon’s sellers.

Quote:
2. AMZ Review Trader

Update: AMZ Review Trader has changed its name to Vipon.

AMZ Review Trader is different in the fact that instead of being able to review one product at a time, you can review up to 20…..

… It’s extremely important to leave reviews with this one, as they constantly check and want to make sure that you’re going to be fair in keeping your word about leaving a review.

hank
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Hmmmm. Ya know what? If I’m ever asked to “review” a dive light —- since it’s a life safety issue that these things work right —- it turns out there’s a procedure for testing them.

https://www.lightandmotion.com/evaluating-dive-lights-and-the-fl-1-standard

Quote:
After completing the drop testing, the light then undergoes the IP testing. Light & Motion’s depth ratings on dive lights range from 100 to 120 meters. After 6 drops on concrete the light is placed in a tank and pressurize to the rated depth for 30 minutes. The Standard requires 100% pass on a set of 3 random samples from stock. Below is a picture of the pressure tank being loaded with production lights that will be pressurized to the FL-1 depth, checked for sealing, and then packaged and shipped to customers. Notice the tank’s heavy wall design required to withstand the pressure seen at 120 meters….

… What more should I consider when buying a dive light?

Reliability: Many lights are highly susceptible to flooding because they require opening after every dive to charge or replace batteries. Constant opening and closing of the light wears O-ring seals and invites sand and salt water to contaminate the seal and cause a leak at depth.

Hmmm. How long til someone asks me to review a rock climbing carabiner and harness, or a parachute?

JiggyJinjo
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Honestly I wouldn’t mind reviewing lights in exchange for a free one. I’ve already translated products and reviews in my language in exchange for lights and other items. However, if I think that the product is not good, I’ll tell the seller and ask whether he wants my honest review published or no review at all. So far, I’ve always bought first on Amazon and then gotten the Paypal refund afterwards. However, if you don’t get the refund in less than Amazon’s return delay, you simply have to return the product to get your refund (it never happened to me). I think that my way of doing it is a win for everyone (more sales to Amazon & sellers, free lights for me and accurate description & honest review for customers)

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Joshk wrote:
Lightbringer wrote:
From a “safety”(?) standpoint, there’s near-zero risk doing a review on Amazon. They screw you on the rebate, you return the item, get back your bux, and can then be free to trash the product as much as you want even out of spite. So it’d be stoopit of them to not give you that rebate or whatever.

I read they do not pay until the return window is closed to protect themselves from that.

In order to get paid, you need to post a 5-star verified review and be stuck with it.

I’ve done a few. They’ve all refunded within 24 hours of my review.

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