An Amazon employee has lost his job for giving out customer email to a third-party seller, FT reports per The Verge. The FT report, behind paywall, revealed that at least one employee got fired for giving out the email address of a customer, which of course, betrays trust.
FT says that the employee had provided customer e-mail addresses to a seller. Amazon confirmed the news, saying that “individual responsible for this incident has been terminated from their position, and we are supporting law enforcement in their prosecution.” The affected customers have since been notified, and Amazon says that no other customer information was leaked to outside parties.
The story too has been confirmed by Amazon in a statement saying that “individual responsible for this incident has been terminated from their position, and we are supporting law enforcement in their prosecution.”
The Verge reports that it is in possession of one of the emails as sent by one of such affected customer. The content of the email sent to The Verge by the customer shows that the “third-party in question has been banned from Amazon’s marketplace.” The customer added that details of which third-party seller got their information was not disclosed by Amazon.
Just last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was investigating “employees leaking data for bribes.” The ecommerce giant wants to get at the root of fake reviews and other seller scams on its website.
The WSJ had reported that third-party sellers were using middlemen to locate Amazon employees, who in turn induce them with money for internal information. This will in turn allow third-party sellers have the edge over other competitors. The ecommerce giant said investigation was ongoing, and it had already put in place “systems to restrict and audit what employees can access.”
It goes without a say that such practice violates company policy, and is capable of misleading customers into buying products they probably would not have bought in the first place.
Such practice is common in China probably because of the rise in the number of sellers in that country. What makes the matter worse is the fact that Amazon employees in China earn relatively small salaries, which might be a source of temptation to get involved in such acts. The practice, however, is not restricted to China as Amazon is also extending its investigation to employees in the US as well.
In a statement made available to The Verge last month, Amazon said:
“We have strict policies and a Code of Business Conduct & Ethics in place for our employees. We implement sophisticated systems to restrict and audit access to information. We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our Code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties. In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, and taking legal action. We are conducting a thorough investigation of these claims.”