And it gives better display on its pages to those products

This couple keeps getting mystery packages from Amazon they didn’t order

The Fine Print with Sean canada goose outlet online Murphy: Mysterious Amazon canada goose outlet packages in ActonShare

The Fine Print with Sean Murphy: Mysterious Amazon packages in Acton. Produced by Scott LaPierre

The first package from Amazon landed on Mike and Kelly canada goose outlet black friday Gallivan’s front porch Canada Goose Online in October. And they have continued to arrive, packed with plastic cheap canada goose uk fans, canada goose outlet store phone chargers, and other cheap stuff, at a rate of one or two a week.

The Gallivans never ordered any of it. Now, boxes and large canada goose outlet uk envelopes clutter their Acton home, about 25 in all.

“Why did you order this?” Kelly remembered asking her husband after opening one of the first packages and discovering a 4 inch plastic fan that plugs into a computer USB port and a combination phone charger and lithium battery goose outlet canada powered hand warmer.

“I didn’t,” Mike answered.

At first, it was fun to cheap canada goose rip https://www.fabulalitera.de canada goose clearance sale open the mystery boxes. They laughed at the absurdity of it, like a couple of kids on Christmas morning tearing into gifts sent by far flung relatives.

But as it’s dragged on, the deliveries have become more creepy than fun. Mike and Kelly want it to stop. (The most recent package arrived at their Acton home on Friday.)

They’ve contacted Amazon, only to be told that canada goose black friday sale the merchandise was paid for with a Canada Goose sale gift card. No sender’s name, no address. While they’ve never been charged for anything, they fear they are being used in a scam. Experts, including two who formerly worked for Amazon, suspect they are unwitting accomplices in a ruse to manipulate the all important buyer reviews posted by Amazon.

Here’s how two experts who used to work for Amazon, James Thomson and Chris McCabe, say it probably works: canada goose black friday sale A seller trying to prop up a product would set up a phony e mail account cheap canada goose that would be used to establish an Amazon account. Then the seller would purchase merchandise with a gift card no identifying information there and send it to a random person, in this canada goose outlet new york city case the Gallivans. Then, the phantom seller, who controls the “buyer’s” e mail account, writes glowing reviews of the product, thus boosting the Amazon ranking of the product.

“The key is to get something delivered somewhere,” said Thomson, one of the business consultants who once worked for Amazon. Once a package is shipped and the recipient weighs in with a review, the recipient is deemed a “verified buyer” writing a “verified review,” to use Amazon’s parlance, “and that is hugely important in the world of Amazon,” Thomson said.

Some of the items Mike and Kelly Gallivan have received.(Rose Lincoln for the Boston Globe)

Amazon highlights verified reviews. And it gives better display on its pages to those products that have a greater number of canada goose uk black friday verified reviews, uk canada goose outlet Thomson said.

And there are the reviews canada goose jacket outlet themselves.

“If the person doing the ordering controls the e mail of the person receiving the product, he can write a five star review of his own product,” he said.

The Gallivans have no idea why they were chosen, but they are not happy about it.

“We’re just plain, ordinary people,” said canada goose factory outlet Kelly, 68, who recently retired canada goose outlet toronto factory after decades as an canada goose coats on sale intensive care surgical nurse. Mike, 70, is also a retired nurse. “We don’t want any part of this. But the packages just keep coming.”

When Mike called Amazon, the customer service representative seemed as perplexed as he and Kelly were.

“They asked me for an order number, but I told them I didn’t have any order numbers because I didn’t order anything,” he said.

Mike described everything that might be helpful to Amazon’s internal sleuths: The packages get delivered by someone in a white van (he’s only caught a fleeting glance so far). There are no invoices or receipts in the packages. The shipping labels are emblazoned with two SKU codes (“bar codes”) and two QR codes (those squares of black and white). The return address on the packages is Amazon’s warehouse in Lexington, Ky. (I refuse to call it a “fulfillment center.”)

There was one exception: a package that listed a return address as Xiamen Paji Trading Co., located in the Chinese coastal province of Fujian.

The Amazon representative asked Mike to read her the letters and numbers under one of the bar codes. After putting Mike on hold for a while, the representative came back to say the products Mike had received were paid for with a gift card.

“That’s all we can tell you,” Mike recalled her saying.

Well, OK, thought Mike. If it’s not a big deal to Amazon, it’s probably not a big deal to me.

Amazon assured him it would investigate. That was about two months ago. Mike never heard from Amazon again. The packages continue to pile up.

So they asked me to get involved.

Thomson said it’s really important for Amazon to investigate and resolve such issues.

“Amazon’s No. 1 consideration is what’s best for the customer,” he said. “And customers need to know the reviews they read on Amazon are not fraudulent.”.