Amazon used to be my go-to place to buy just about everything. Until things started getting strange about a year ago.

Suddenly I went from being one of the top 2000 reviewers to having all of my reviews pulled. Without notice. And nobody could or would tell me why. In fact, no one even told me this happened. I found out by writing a review and getting an error message when trying to post it.

It took a couple of months, but I could post reviews again. Of course all the prior reviews were gone, but hey. Note that they never told me this was cleared up, so I didn’t know for months.

My good standing in this Community lasted only a couple of months after that, and then the same thing happened. Again without notice or explanation. See below for the one and only review at this time, and the error message:

Know what else happens when you can’t leave reviews? You can’t ask questions, either. You read that correctly. When your account is in this inexplicable bad standing status, you can’t leave reviews, ask questions, or provide page feedback. Basic things, such as “The listing title says five, the description says four, and yet six appear in the picture. How many actually come in an order?”

Apparently that’s not something a customer needs to know.

So how did I get kicked out of what Amazon calls the Community? Twice? Seriously, not a clue. Here’s a link to their guidelines. I’ll add a PDF as to what they were at the time of this article once personally identifiable information has been removed

The call-center people obviously use English as a second language, have no idea what is being asked, and about an hour into the call, each one says this has to go to a special team that handles these things who’ll get back to me in a few business days.

I’ve been through similar phone calls at least five times, and have yet to hear from this special team.

Yes, everyone I’ve spoken with has apologized for the inconvenience. They’ve all been very polite. And none have been provided the training or knowledge-base articles regarding this issue. It’s greatly appreciated that the company hires conscientious call-center reps. It’s also very unfair to these reps to not give them the information they need to do their jobs, which is to help the customer.

I get that Amazon wants to maintain the civility and integrity of the Community. This is why I know the rules, and follow them to the letter. I’ve never gotten into a flame war, belittled anyone, or uploaded inappropriate pictures or videos. And all reviews, good and bad, honestly describe my experience with each product.

This means that Amazon is pulling honest reviews down without notice or explanation. Which to me means the Community’s integrity is broken. I can no longer trust the product reviews and ratings because I don’t know how many others have been pulled, or more importantly, what they said.

You know what else this means? Amazon is now the shopping destination of last resort instead of being my first choice. Which means less revenue for them. Granted, I’m only one customer and they have hundreds of millions.

That being said, Facebook thought they were invincible, too. Then they violated user trust too many times. In the past year, they have significantly fewer active users, and those that still use the platform are on there less frequently and for shorter time periods.

Goodbye, Amazon. It was nice while it lasted. I was an early adopter, and now it looks like I’m an early abandoner, too. If you don’t have the integrity to ask first, keep me in the loop as to why or how you think things went wrong, and don’t offer a viable action to clear my name, then let’s just say I don’t need your mind games and shenanigans in my life.

Amazon says it wants a sense of Community and open conversations to enhance trust in their platform. Too bad this is absolutely the wrong way to do any of those things.