Can Customers Change their Amazon Reviews?

by Colleen Quattlebaum

It's 7:02 on Monday morning, and you're feeling a little groggy after a very busy weekend.

On Saturday, your oldest son had a basketball tournament in Chattanooga. Your youngest son's piano recital consumed all of Sunday afternoon. And, of course, you always find time to answer customer questions - even when you're away from the office.

With so much to balance, it sure would be nice to ease into the new week. Unfortunately, that's not in the cards. Why? Well, shortly after sipping your first cup of coffee you notice something rather unpleasant: the Amazon star rating for your private-label item has gone down.

How could this happen?

After doing some digging, you realize that several customers have submitted 1-star reviews while you were gone. Bummer!

What should you do now? If you make things right, can you ask the customers to change their reviews? Is that allowed? Let's see what's possible.

Can Customers Change their Amazon Reviews?

Let's start with some basic facts about Amazon reviews.

Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") has an entire Q&A help page about customer reviews. One question in particular seems appropriate for the purposes of this discussion. It reads:

Can a buyer change their review after an issue with a product is resolved?

The first part of Amazon's answer certainly seems promising: "Yes. Buyers can change their reviews at any time." The next sentence, however, might not provide that warm and fuzzy feeling you're looking for: "However, you may not ask buyers to change their reviews."

Then, a new glimmer of hope pops into your brain. You think to yourself, "Thank goodness we're getting ready to launch version 2.0 of the product. I bet Amazon will eventually remove those outdated reviews from the first version..."

Wrong again, my friend.

Amazon states that it does not delete or remove reviews for prior versions of products - even if there is a "new model, fixed issues...or upgrades." Amazon believes that all reviews (including dated ones) could still provide helpful information to future buyers. (Note: Amazon will remove certain reviews if they meet specific criteria, as outlined here.)

Ouch. Now what?

What Are My Options?

Amazon does permit sellers to post comments on reviews (assuming they comply with the Community Guidelines, found here). Commenting can be a great way to learn more about the customer's concerns or frustrations. This can be useful for future product development purposes, but it's also important for delivering the best customer experience possible. We all know that Amazon is heralded as the most "customer-centric" company on planet Earth. It stands to reason that Amazon expects the same from third-party sellers like you.

Should you comment in every situation? That probably depends on the customer. If you already know who the customer is, you might want to weigh your prior experiences before commenting. For example, if the buyer is known to have unrealistic expectations (which no seller could ever live up to), you might just leave well enough alone and move on with your life. The last thing you want to do is get into a fruitless argument on the world's most trusted eCommerce marketplace!

On the other hand, if the customer seems genuine in his or her concerns, a friendly comment could be very appropriate. Even if you don't have the perfect answer to share, at least you're showing that you care. As we discussed above, customers have total discretion to change or remove their reviews. Although you can't ask customers to change or remove a review, there's no rule against providing good 'ol customer service and seeing what happens.

Who knows...a customer might be so impressed that he reconsiders that nasty review!

Build a Better Amazon Reputation

Smart sellers like you aren't afraid to ask the tough questions. Keep asking those tough questions and also consider using a tool like FeedbackFive.

Click here to learn how FeedbackFive helps sellers build better Amazon reputations.

Originally published on January 30, 2018, updated July 7, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.

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