New requirement for Customer Review eligibility on Amazon

As you may have noticed, I love writing reviews of all (or almost all) books I read. The book reviews published on this blog are also submitted on Goodreads, Anobii (another social network for readers) and several Amazon stores, namely the US, UK, CA, AU, NL and of course IT stores.

At the end of the past week I published my review of “Stardance” by Spider & Jeanne Robinson on this blog and on my Italian blog (an Italian version of it). Then, as usual, I started submitting the same reviews on my Amazon account on the above-mentioned stores. Everything went well on Amazon IT, where I do most of my purchases (being Italian), and on Amazon US, where my Kindle e-readers are registered, but when I tried to submit the same review on Amazon UK, I received this notice:

Sorry, we’ve experienced a problem. Please submit your review again

Puzzled, I tried again, but I got the same message. So I tried to submit my review on the DE store, and again the same notice. At this point I tried to review a verified purchase (sometimes I purchase items on Amazon UK and DE), but I got this error again.

I was worried there was something wrong with my account, though I started to suppose that the problem (which wasn’t there on 4 April, the date of my last review on the UK store) was related to the age of my purchases.
I turned to the customer support and my supposition revealed to be right.

This is what I got as reply.

We had changes to our purchase requirement recently. To write a Customer Review, you must have used your account to make at least £40 in purchases on in the past 12 months. Once your order has dispatched, you’ll be able to write your first customer review (Promotional discounts don’t count toward the £40 minimum).

You can read the new eligibility requirement here.

Since I’m unable to submit a review on the other stores, I supposed that the requirements have changed (almost) everywhere only with a different amount and again I was right. It’s $50 on the US store (see here) and €50 on the DE and IT store.

What are your thoughts?

I think that forcing customers to spend £40 (or €/$50) every single year in order to be eligible to write a review, even on old verified purchases, is just a cheap and useless attempt from Amazon to avoid seriously addressing the issue of fake and paid reviews.

You know, I’m an Amazon customer since 1998 (20 years!), I spent so much money on four different stores (US, DE, UK and IT), I wrote hundreds of legitimate reviews, and now I have to pay a kind of “annual fee”, on each store (that’s the worst part!), to be allowed to submit more reviews.
I really have no more words to describe this. It’s just crazy.


  1. On the US website it also states that you have to have Amazon Prime

    1. No, this is not true. You need to have Amazon Prime to contribute to Spark, not to leave reviews.
      Here is the exact wording:
      "In addition, to contribute to Spark you must also have a paid Prime subscription (free Prime trials do not qualify)."

  2. Absolutely disgraceful. Amazon say that they want to hear our voice but we need to be spending money with them first! As a new author I struggle to get reviews for my book. So far I have had a least four people, all willing to leave good reviews but are unable because they seldom buy on Amazon.

    1. I feel you, Stephen. This is a problem for me also as a reviewer.
      More than a year passed after this post and now I can only write reviews on Amazon IT. :(

  3. Poorly thought out. Amazon needs to rethink this. I don't have a credit card or debit card. I use my bank account or Amazon gift cards to buy stuff.

    The only thing that they should have changed was review bombing with unverified purchases. Leaving negative 1 star reviews without any proof of purchase. If the person didn't buy the product on Amazon then they need to type in the model number ( if used) or the bar code on the packaging.

  4. Amazon has apparently just started to enforce this ridiculous policy on Vine reviewers as well.

    The Vine program provides free stuff in exchange for honest reviews. As of last week, I cannot submit reviews of the products I've gotten for free because I don't meet the purchase requirement.

    So Amazon sends me free products to review but won't let me review them unless I buy stuff that I neither want nor need. It's unbelievable!