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Amazon Declares: Reviewers Need Not Read Books They Review ! ! !

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 5:26
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Here’s the latest Amazon Absurdity.  They declare that a reviewer who states they have not read the book and posts a review for the book they didn’t read, does not violate the reviews guidelines.  here’s the review in question:






I call it a troll attack by virtue of the fact the reviewer presumes to review a book he’s never read and ridicules me for comments to other trolls. He is clearly unhappy that the Daily News posted my review of King’s book “Guns”.  And proceeds to attack my review of Guns rather than my book.  

In other words he specifically came to my book page on Amazon to attack my review of King’s book.


How could that possibly fall within  the guidelines of a book review?  

But upon inspecting the guideline I discovered there is no mention that a reviewer has to have read the book they review.  It does say to write a review you have to have purchased an item from Amazon, but it doesn’t say you have to have bought what you review.


Given the above, how can any book review on Amazon be taken seriously?


Original Message

Publisher Code: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Customer Name: RICK CARUFEL

Subject: Malicious 1-star reviews.


I wrote an essay,, and because of the controversial title it has been a magnet for troll attacks. It seems that every Stephen King lover and gun-grabber feel compelled to leave a 1-star review and a personal attack regardless of whether they read the essay or not. Some outright state they haven’t yet those reviews, in violation of the Amazon TOS, are still there. 

 Why has Amazon refused to remove theses vicious attacks?

Not only do I have 9 books for sale on Amazon and publish many ebooks and PODs for others but I also buy nearly everything from amazon as a customer.

As a vendor, publisher and good customer of Amazon I expect better treatment.



Hello Rick,


My name is Deleon and I’m from the Amazon Communities department which deals with reviews according to posted guidelines which we consider when upholding a review.


Thanks for bringing these reviews to our attention. We’ll read each of the reviews and remove any that violate our guidelines. Any reviews we find outside our guidelines will be removed within 48 hours.


Due to the sheer volume of posts that we receive daily, we aren’t always able to catch everything right away. We rely on our Community to help notify us of any inappropriate or abusive comments by using the “report abuse” feature. This will help us know where to focus our efforts.


If you’d like it for reference, here is a link to our participation guidelines:


Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your thoughts. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best regards,

Deleon A


Hi Deleon,


Thanks for the reply, I would also like the reviews that in any way try to demean me with insults and name calling also removed. A book review discusses the book reviewed and nothing else. It is not a soap box from which to rant or to use as a vote for or against an issue. Any review that does not discuss the literary merits of the work is a personal attack or an opinion on the issues discussed in the book but not a review of the book. Any review that does not directly discuss the essay, was not from a paying customer, is posted by a troll hiding behind an alias or does not directly reference the contents of the book should be pulled. I’ll thank you, but no, I do not want any reviews from people who won’t use their names, that’s far too sleezey and juvenile.


I am fully aware of the ambiguous guidelines. If Amazon wasn’t the only giant books seller many people would leave here because you consistently refused to address your troll problems. In fact Amazon has given over their forums to the trolls and defend them there. I have writers groups on Facebook that have membership of over 20k and every writer I know has had problems with troll reviews and avoid your forums like the plague.


The problem I am having with what is know across the internet, by writers everywhere, as “The Amazon Troll Problem” is not isolated but wide spread. A serious problem exists, caused by your trolls attacking self-published or indie published writers, with insults, name calling, lies, no purchases, and vindictive 1-star reviews. They also get friends to vote for reviews to make sure the very worst stay at the top. This is deliberate actions to cause monetary damages. This is criminal.


Sooner or later all this is gonna hurt Amazon as it is hurting authors now. You cannot condone personal and financial attacks on sellers before legal action is taken against you for monetary damages. I do not write and sell books so the Amazon trolls can trash me and my work online. I am convinced these attacks cost sales. Amazon is allowing it to happen. I see this becoming nothing but a bigger and bigger problem until Amazon grows a pair and purges the trolls.

I have page after page of cases documented where Amazon has pulled tons of 5-star reviews that did not in any way violate the guidelines. Again this is caused by trolls intentionally causing monetary damages by reporting reviews as bogus. Amazon of course takes their word for it and pulls the reviews without looking into the legitimacy of the review. I also have report after report of Amazon absolutely refusing to pull 1-star troll attacks even when shown they are in violation of the guidelines.


Take for instance Michaelangelo who left me a 1-star review. He has done 3 reviews total, one is a direct violation of the guidelines because he states he has not read what he presumes to review. I another of his reviews, a 5-star, he admits he’s known the author for years. So here we have 2/3 of this guys reviews in violation. How many time do trolls get away with violating the guidelines before the privilege of doing reviews is rescinded?


These are members of the Amazon community who deliberately give 1-star reviews for material they have not read in many cases, with the explicit goal of demeaning the writer and intentionally trying to discourage sales. This has to stop.


Certain factions of disgruntled writers are looking into the legal implications of Amazon allowing troll to attack booksellers and their products with the goal of destroying their reputation and sales.


Another issue I want to discuss is book returns. I have had close to 50 copies of the book in question returned.


This is Amazon’s Legal Notice:

Rick Carufel does not accept returns for ebooks!


I consider returns as theft of my product. Especially when it is only an 100 page essay. Amazon has used the excuse of “purchased in error” in the past, but with nearly 50 returns it is clear to me what is happening is people are buying my 100 page essay, reading it and returning it thereby stealing my intellectual property. I want royalties for all the books returned.



Rick Carufel

Richter Indy Publishing


Hello Rick,


We have investigated the one star review on your title, and found them to comply with our posted guidelines.

I understand that you feel very strongly about this issue. One of our goals as an online retailer; however, is to offer our customers the ability to express a wide variety of viewpoints in our Community features. Given the fact that many of the reviews for this title relate to a controversial subject matter, it is unfortunate but inevitable that some of our customers may find a few of these viewpoints objectionable.


While we do strive to build a sense of community, it is important to note that customer reviews are submitted by customers like yourself, and are not employees of The opinions expressed by customers, both on and off our website, do not reflect the opinions of


We value all feedback from our customers, and I thank you again for taking the time to send us your comments about this issue. Although we won’t be able to comment further on this topic, we hope you’ll allow us to continue to serve you.


We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best regards,




Hi Carlin,


Are you people insane?

  1. How can a review where the reviewer clearly states he has not read the book possibly be within the guidelines for reviews?

  2. How can it be a legitimate review?

  3. How can someone write a valid review for a book they haven’t read?

  4. Do you people even read the crap you tell people?

  5. Do you even read the complaints or just pick a canned reply to send?


Your response is an insult. You insult me by presuming that I am so stupid as to accept your lies or canned non-answers. You are not even familiar with the issue.

There is not one 1-star review on my book, there are 23!! Many that admit to having not read it. Nearly every one is rude and insulting, personal attacks.


Of course the reviews where the reviewer admit they never read the book are in violation of the guidelines.


How dare you so blatantly lie to your sellers and customers of which I am both?


As a marketplace it is Amazon’s duty to stand behind its vendors and not allow deliberate attacks on them. In this area Amazon is a pathetic failure. Shielding your trolls instead of your vendors is certainly going to come back to haunt you.


Please answer these 5 questions.



Rick Caurfel

Richter Indy Publishing


As a final insult they sent me this crap related to troll activity, buying a book, reading it and returning it.



Hello Rick,


I'm sorry for the trouble you've had in this regard.


For your reference, refunds are primarily given due to content quality issues

and accidental purchases.


You can view our Kindle content return policy at the following link:



I've checked if there were any quality or formatting-based complaints logged for

your Kindle titles by our customer service team, but I didn't find any. I

suppose we can take it that the title was accidentally purchased by your

customers, and later refunded. Please note, in case we do receive any complaints

regarding your titles, you will be notified about it within three to five

business days.


We strive to provide the best customer experience, and offer refunds when

customers report quality issues or an accidental purchase.


However, please be assured that we have procedures in place to track customers

who request for refunds and identify fraudulent refund requests, and take

appropriate action when necessary. We’re unable to provide you with details

regarding these procedures, and appreciate your understanding with our policy.


Thanks for using Amazon KDP.



Hi Manasa,


“I suppose we can take it that the title was accidentally purchased by your

customers, and later refunded.”

50 times for the same book in less than 4 months? Get real, this reply is nothing more than a BS excuse to do nothing while one of your vendors is being stolen from and you refuse to stop it. Not only that but this is the same response, word for word, to my complaint when 10 books had been returned.


Rick Carufel


(C) 2013 Rick Carufel  Right to use granted with credits.

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