I saw an advertisement for an electronics company which said that they are looking for product testers. It works as follows: the tester would have to buy the product from Amazon and use it for a few days. If he likes the product quality, he has to write a public positive review on Amazon for it. But if he dislikes the product, he will not write it on Amazon publicly, rather will give the feedback to the company privately. In either case, the company will refund the price of the product to the customer.
This contravenes Amazon’s policy on this matter: “Paid Reviews – We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind…”
Under these circumstances, is such dealing permissible in Islam? Also, if it is not permissible, what should I do now with the product I already received?
Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
I pray you are well.
Deceptive Dealing Are Impermissible
This transaction is impermissible. It is deceptive because it clearly violates Amazon’s guidelines. It is a means for the manufacturers of the product to garner positive reviews on Amazon through seemingly verified purchases, without having people’s negative reviews posted there.
There is a clear deception and violation of trust here. Allah Most High commanded us to avoid this: “O Believers, do not betray Allah and the Messenger, nor your trusts knowingly!” (Qur’an, 8:27)
Disposing of the Product
The reimbursement you received for the product means is technically yours, but due to the nature of the whole dealing, it isn’t permissible for you to retain it. You can either give the product to someone who is poor or get a refund and give the funds you received in charity to someone who is poor. That is how to get clear of this situation along with your repentance (Usmani, Fiqh al Buyu’).
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.