tl;dr: A seller who sold a terrible product is offering me $50 to change my review from 2 stars to 4 or 5.

March 9 Update: Updated review is live that talks about the $50 offer.

I’m not even sure where to start with this one. It’s a scenario that I’ve never experienced before even as one of the earliest of early adopters of Amazon (like, when they only sold books and this Unix nerd was deep into the O’Reilly series).

Berkman strike, by M&R Glasgow

I shop on Amazon for the convenience. They don’t always have the best selection or price, so I still shop around. In some cases, the selection is superior so I’ll browse through and choose based on the reviews. Now, we all know there are issues with review sites doing shady things to skew certain products in a more favorable (or unfavorable) state. That’s why we have sites like FakeSpot to help us determine if reviews are genuine (as much as they can do that) or not.

In June, I bought a USB speaker based off the reviews. I had my reasons for going with USB over Bluetooth (probably shouldn’t have though), and once I settled on one I hit the buy button.

Let me be direct. It was a piece of junk. Not only was the sound quality terrible, but it had random noise popping in and out constantly. In addition, I would get a couple of cryptic error messages (no doubt some were related to the above error) on the LED display that had no corresponding notes on the company’s website or in the manual for the speaker.

So I sent it back. And I left a review.

Confession time, even though I’m a 25+ year customer of Amazon, I’ve only left 16 reviews. Generally more positive than negative though which makes me happy.

I was not surprised to have the seller reach out to me, but I WAS surprised they offered me money to change my review. It started small, but what sparked my need to write this blog post is I’m now being offered a $50 Amazon gift card to change my review. They’ll even accept a 4 vs 5 star one.

As of this publication, I’ve already reported this several times to Amazon who doesn’t seem to care. I even changed the review (so maybe it will warn people to this practice of sellers offering cash to change the review), but it has to go through a review process again (which might trigger a removal).

If they are offering it to me, I guarantee they have offered it to many others. As always, don’t trust everything you read online.

This post originally appeared on BrandenWilliams.com.

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