In the spring of 2021, a database breach led to a large number of direct messages between Amazon vendors and customers. These exchanges were for free products in exchange for positive reviews. Over 13 million such records were found, involving more than 200,000 people. Putting the validity of Amazon reviews in grave danger. One of the end results was the removal of RAVPower and Aukey products from Amazon.
How Amazon Reviews for Free Products Worked
The Amazon vendors would send reviewers a list of items for which they wanted a 5-star review. The reviewers would buy the product themselves, receive it from Amazon, and then leave a 5-star review. Once done the reviewer sent the vendor details of the review and their PayPal account. The vendor would refund the cost of the item through PayPal. On Amazon, the review is from a “verified buyer” with no return on record, so it appears legit to both customers and Amazon.
Prominent reviews on Amazon were often contacted with such offers, so the reviewers again would seem legit given their large review history on the platform.
Amazon’s Reaction and the Removal of RAVPower and Aukey
After the scope of this practice was revealed Amazon took action against many vendors who participated in this practice. Among those were RAVPower and Aukey, the #2 and #3 producers respectively of USB-C chargers and power banks.
In early May 2021, Aukey was kicked off of Amazon. A month later the same happened to RAVPower, as well as a number of smaller brands during that period. Their Amazon storefront pages were removed and direct links to their products loaded “meet the dogs of Amazon” pages for removed products.
While the boot from Amazon appears justified under the terms of agreement and the need to maintain review integrity, it is worth noting that Amazon Basic branded USB-C chargers and power banks have been made available. And their position on the top-selling lists has benefited from the removal of two large rivals.
Changes to SwitchChargers.com Listing RAVPower and Aukey
As a result of these changes, I have updated and rebuilt my own USB-C wall chargers and power banks lists, which previously contained many RAVPower and Aukey products. There were too many broken links to make those lists useful to my readers.
It also gave me an opportunity to go through the up-and-coming brands, the new offerings from Amazon Basics, and improve the organization of the lists for you.
You will still see a handful of RAVPower and Aukey items on my list, though not nearly as had been there before. Both brands have made a limited return to Amazon. RAVPower is using their in-house iSmart brand. While Aukey is being less subtle with AukeyPower.
Reviews On SwitchChargers.com Work Differently
I don’t participate in reviews on Amazon directly, all of my reviews are posted to this site. Some reviews are for products I bought without the maker’s involvement, while others are for products provided for free from the maker. The freely provided products (standard practice among most reviewers) are shipped by the maker, sometimes through their Amazon store, but never associated with my personal Amazon account. Each and every review notes who provided the product at the start of the review.
I make no promises on the content or positivity of a review when a product is provided. The maker does get an early preview of the final draft and is welcome to provide technical corrections as needed. But all content is provided by me with no direct editorial input by others. It best benefits me, this site, the products I review, and you the reader for me to provide as honest and helpful a review as possible.