I’m on the naughty reviewer list.
I have posted about 250 reviews on Amazon over the last 8 years; products that I have bought and books that I have read.
Over the last 6 months I have had a few reviews for books by Indie Authors removed. I broke a guideline without realizing it. I had the gall to review a book my husband had already read and reviewed. It seems that Amazon does not believe that I could have a different opinion than my husband. That I would be biased because my husband had read the same book! And since I tried to review the same book, my husband would also be biased as his review was removed too.
I have since read the complete Guidelines from Amazon several times and am very careful to follow them.
But, last week an indie author contacted me through my blog and asked why I had removed my review from her book? Later in the day 2 more authors contacted me. All were Indie Authors so you KNOW how important each and every review is to them. I started checking – all my reviews for every book, product, etc. – had been removed that I had ever written; going back 8 years and most were verified purchases. I contacted Amazon immediately, filed out a form requesting it be looked into, got the standard email receipt saying they would be back to me in 1-2 days.
Three days went by and I contact them again – same form – same response. 6 days from the start I contact them again and this time I get to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor nicely explains to me just how screwed I am. There is no way for me to communicate with the department that handles this. She, the supervisor, cannot even contact them as they have no phone support nor do they respond to the forms her department submits. The initial contact customer service is purely to take information and they can submit the forms again and again but Amazon does not have to respond to me or even them – their own first line of customer support.
Each time I have called they have thanked me for being a Prime Member – stop thanking me and give your customers some respect and answer their questions. You’re the only big game in town for indie authors and a lot of one woman/man shops and you control it all.
I have been notified that my reviews are gone and I am not allowed to EVER review on Amazon. My heart was in the right place trying to help Indie Authors by posting honest reviews, but Amazon believes I am evil and will taint the review process.
While Amazon is not a monopoly in the strictest sense of the word, they certainly behave as though they have monopoly power. They are accountable to no one and those who are wronged have no recourse. What goes around comes around. I am very dissatisfied customer who will now go out of her way, even if it costs more, to find my purchases someplace else. I have recently reactivated my Barnes and Noble account. I have also stopped using my Amazon Affiliate link – which earned me pennies and Amazon dollars.
Just once small voice.