Amazon is investigating claims that employees are taking bribes in exchange for data that gives sellers an edge, particularly in the superheated Chinese market, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The report said low-wage company workers in Shenzhen have received payments between $80 to more than $2,000 from brokers in exchange for internal sales metrics and reviewers’ email addresses, while also helping them delete negative reviews and restore banned accounts.
The incidents are more pronounced and numerous in China, according to the report, because the number of merchants there selling on Amazon has been exploding. Amazon has been investigating the issue as part of a broader effort to reduce fake reviews.
“We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties,” Amazon said in a statement to media.
The company began its investigation in May after Eric Broussard, Amazon’s vice president of business development who oversees international marketplaces, was tipped off to the practice in China, according to the WSJ. Employees being investigated include some in the U.S.
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