CINCINNATI (WKRC) – Some Amazon customers are reportedly getting too much of something for nothing.
It’s a scam being dubbed “brushing” as customers are receiving items they never ordered or paid for. Bradley Pohl is one the latest to receive packages he never ordered. He's received four in the last 10 days.
“Kind of a hodgepodge of items; we got this weird clip belt. We have a curling iron, a basket for a Crockpot or something and a wallet clip,” said Pohl. “It was odd because the labels had my name, address, my phone number on some of them, yeah it was weird.”
There’s no order number, no invoice and no return address from the buyer, just the distribution center in Lexington. Pohl says he’s called Amazon, but they weren’t helpful.
“They didn't have too much to say. They said you can keep them or you can donate them,” said Pohl. “It was actually pretty surprising because I've come to trust the Amazon brand and to expect a certain level of customer service from them."
The scam typically works when an online seller, usually overseas, purchases its own product through fake buyers they’ve created. The products are then shipped to real addresses and the seller writes a glowing review from the fake account. The hope for the seller: to get more product buys because of those top reviews.
“The whole verified purchaser rating system was really implemented to prevent those sorts of fake ratings. So, this is just another way of gaming that, and it’s just a testament to the fact that people will always try to game the system and getting the ratings,” said Pohl.
Amazon did release a statement about this earlier this year saying:
We investigate every report of customers receiving unsolicited packages and will ban all vendors and reviewers who abuse the reviews system.
If online reviews are something you find comfort or guidance in, you can easily copy and paste the reviews on some review verification websites to determine the validity of the review. Some sites even report how many reviews Amazon has pulled from its website.