Amazon users in the United States and Canada were left baffled after receiving unusual gifts that were being sent to them by complete strangers over the past week.
Like getting gifts from strangers wasn’t creepy enough, the packages mostly contained sex toys, making it even more worrying.
And to top it all off, Amazon has no idea of stop this.
Nikki was one of the online giant’s users who had recently received a sex toy in an Amazon box. At first, she thought it was mistakenly delivered in place of her mascara. “At first I believed it to be a mistake,” she said.
But Nikki kept receiving other things that she hadn’t ordered. Shockingly, the gift box had no gift receipt and no footprints. They were paid via a gift card, so that no one could trace the identity of the sender.
The last package she received had headphones.
“The weird part about it is if this were a prank or a hacker sending things to women on the internet, it’d be expensive. I looked [the sex toy] up, and it’s $25, which is sort of substantial,” she said.
“It seems so personal.”
When Nikki called Amazon to find out about the sender’s identity, they had no answer. Amazon told her she was being sent those packages as part of some "bad behavior" that was being investigated.
“We are investigating inquiries from consumers who have received unsolicited packages as this would violate our policies. We have confirmed the sellers involved did not receive names or shipping addresses from Amazon,” said Amazon’s spokesperson.
“We remove sellers in violation of our policies, withhold payments, and work with law enforcement to take appropriate action.”
Nikki spent most of her time last week fearing she was being cyber stalked. She was scared the sender might be from her city and feared living in her own home, recalling a story she read on the internet, where a cyber stalker used to send racy novels to a woman after using Amazon’s anonymous gift service.
She tried seeking help from Amazon multiple times, but they were of no help. Upon calling them for the very first time, she “had to fight with a representative to take my concerns seriously.” She was then sent to a supervisor who was “under the impression that I was simply calling to find out who sent me a fun gift to satisfy my own curiosity,” she said.
So the scared Amazon user got the police involved, but they weren’t much of a help either.
Niki wasn’t the only person receiving unwanted gifts from a stranger. In total, 40 such items were sent to Canadian universities. They have all bought this to Amazon’s attention.
According to two former Amazon employees, this issue might be a result of a review scam. Savvy sellers apparently trick Amazon’s system that prioritizes reviews from “verified purchases” over other posts. So some sellers may be sending these anonymous packages to leave 5-star reviews, after which the products get pushed up to the top searches.
An Amazon spokesperson told the Daily Beast that this theory seems unlikely. “Thus far our investigations have shown very few reviews submitted associated with these shipments,” the spokesperson said.
Nikki asked for her first name to be used not disclosing her full name because of her fear.
“Amazon must address the fact that every representative I spoke to gave me different and often conflicting information,” she said.
Thumbnail / Banner : Reuters, Mike Segar