Incentivized reviews

Question:

These days, there is a phenomenon going on that some sellers will give their products free of charge if you give them a five-star feedback on Amazon. How it works: Usually, some agents are there who have a list of products. They will tell you to buy that product (specific seller). Once the order is delivered, then you give a high-rated product review. After the review gets published on amazon page, you will be refunded the amount through PayPal (any mode of payment). My question to you: -is it the right business to act as an agent -I bought some products through the agent and got the refund and now feeling guilty what if it is incorrect; in that sense, what should I do now - there are also some sellers who just want you to buy the product without asking to provide feedback. Once I buy the item on Amazon, then they will refund me.


Answer:

For the seller to ask for such incentivized reviews and for the buyer to assist him in such an act is unethical and impermissible because it entails breaking Amazon’s policy and terms of service (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=G3UA5WC5S5 UUKB5G). Allah (SWT) says, “O you who believe! Fulfill the contracts!” (Surah AlMaidah: v. 1) Allah (SWT) describes the believers in Surah Al-Muminoon, verse 8, “And those who look after their trusts and covenant (they fulfill them).”


You may keep the money refunded to you; however, refrain from giving incentivized reviews ever again and anything that contradicts Amazon’s terms of service. In addition to breaking one’s agreement, if the product’s quality is poor and you give it five stars, which it is not deserving of, in lieu of money, it would mislead other buyers into thinking the product is excellent. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever cheats is not from us.” (Tirmidhi: Hadith 1315) Ahkamul Quran lil Jasas: v. 2, p. 250 (Qadeemi Kutub Khana); Maariful Quran: v. 2, p. 42 (Maktaba Rasheedia); Ahsanul Fatawa: v. 9, p. 32 (HM Saeed Company); Fatawa Mahmudia: v. 20, p. 207 (Darul Isha’at)




And Allah knows best

Written by Maulana Mohammad Ahsan Osmani

Darul Ifta Texas

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