Latest in Entertainment

Image credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images

Senators want to know why Amazon Choice recommends junk

Amazon's label for high-quality products is rife with fraud.
204 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Amazon has never revealed how products receive its iconic black "Amazon's Choice" label, which gets them top billing on the ecommerce platform. US senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a letter today to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demanding more details on the elite categorization. The pair raised concerns that the label may be inadvertently tricking consumers into buying inferior products through fraudulent reviews.

"We are concerned the badge is assigned in an arbitrary manner, or worse, based on fraudulent product reviews. While, we recognize that Amazon has taken actions in the past to combat fraudulent reviews -- the problem persists -- and Amazon may be exacerbating the problem by actively promoting products with fraudulent reviews," wrote the senators. A list of questions sought specific details on how items get selected for the program, including whether an algorithm is informing Amazon's decision-making and if products are reviewed by humans to ensure they're of high quality.

A recent Buzzfeed investigation revealed how many inferior Amazon Choice products thrived on hundreds of fake or misleading reviews. These items included an AmazonBasics Security Safe which could be easily opened with a tool and a flask that turned alcohol black. A fake review of a thermometer recommended it for babies -- despite the fact that the product's details explicitly state it is not intended for newborns.

Amazon first debuted its Amazon Choice program back in 2015 as a way to select the default products for customers who order through the Echo speakers. The label's description on the website reads, "Amazon's Choice recommends highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately." But rather than simply select the highest-rated bath towel or jade roller for the Choice label, Amazon appears to take other, undisclosed metrics into consideration.

Amazon must respond to the lawmakers' queries by September 16th. The senators will then decide whether the situation warrants further any action, such as legislation. "Senator Menendez would like to see what are the responses to their questions and then see if there's anything the federal government needs to do if they fail to correct their behavior," wrote Menendez's communication director Francisco Pelayo in an email to Engadget.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
204 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

View
First 'Borderlands 3' event is the Halloween-themed Bloody Harvest

First 'Borderlands 3' event is the Halloween-themed Bloody Harvest

View
Tech industry sets official standard for 8K TVs

Tech industry sets official standard for 8K TVs

View
'Bandersnatch,' 'Fleabag,' and 'Ozark' lead streaming Emmy winners

'Bandersnatch,' 'Fleabag,' and 'Ozark' lead streaming Emmy winners

View
IKEA will produce more energy than it consumes by 2020

IKEA will produce more energy than it consumes by 2020

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr