Ratings from other buyers are an important signal for customers in online retail as to whether the purchase is worthwhile. Many retailers take advantage of this – to increase the attractiveness of their own products with ever new meshes. Amazon now wants to take action against this with a new measure. And explicitly warns customers of possible bad purchases.

The warning is clearly worded: “Frequently returned item” is highlighted in orange under the product description. The potential buyers are also instructed to look at the customer reviews to find out more about possible problems.

First discovered was the innovation of “The Information”. An Amazon spokesman confirmed to the revelations site that the company is “currently displaying return rate information on some product pages to help customers make a more informed purchasing decision.” The warnings are apparently only displayed for products that are not offered there by Amazon itself but by third-party sellers.

So far, the hints have only been discovered on the US site, but they are not displayed to every user there either – even if you call up the same product. Amazon has not yet responded to inquiries as to whether the warnings will also be rolled out worldwide. However, the warning on the US page can also be seen in German if the language setting is appropriate.

The information should be a valuable decision-making aid for many customers. In fact, the affected products are often well rated. For a record player and two dresses, which “The Information” had already spotted with a warning label, the ratings looked very good at first glance. More than half of the ratings were five stars. Only when you read the reviews in detail do you see warnings that the turntable is not particularly well made. Or the dress is either too big or too tight – the same model, mind you.

And you could also put a stop to one of Amazon’s bigger annoyances. The retailer has been fighting counterfeit products and reviews on the website for years. On social networks, retailers quickly got good ratings through product gifts. For Amazon, this is a problem in several ways. On the one hand, bad buying experiences reduce customer trust in the retail giant. On the other hand, the incorrectly rated products also cause costs due to the return shipment, storage of the returns and disposal.

The warnings could prove to be an effective tool. On the one hand, they should reduce the number of bad purchases and thus of disappointed customers and returns. On the other hand, Amazon will definitely hope for an educational effect on the retailer. If the warning notices pile up and then the sales figures of the corresponding customers collapse, the incentive to describe the products more honestly also increases.

Even without the notice, customers should take the measure as an opportunity to obtain more detailed information before making a purchase. And not just to rely on the star rating, but also to read the specific reviews. Many bad purchases could then be avoided without a warning.

Sources: The Information, The Verge, Amazon