Router company Mediabridge banned from Amazon after harassing customer

A reviewer on Amazon gave Mediabridge's Medialink Wireless-N Broadband Router a one-star review, warning potential users that the device left his "connection crawling more than 25 feet" from the router. This seemed strange for a product which, at the time, had an impressive 95% satisfaction rate.

Not long after submitting it, the reviewer posted on reddit's /r/legaladvice community saying that he had received a threatening letter from Mediabridge. The letter demanded the reviewer agree to never purchase any Mediabridge products, never publicly comment online about Mediabridge products, and to take down the Amazon review immediately. The company stated its intention to sue the reviewer if its demands were not met.

The post, which reached reddit's front page, prompted hundreds of outraged redditors to post one-star reviews on the products page, pushing its total ratings down to mediocre levels. Misguided redditors also inadvertently brigaded the product page of a Tenda router, which bears stunning similarities to the Mediabridge model, and the Amazon page for Medialink, an unrelated company.

One of the top comments in the reddit thread suggested that the reviewer email Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, to report Mediabridge. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a company renowned for its dedication to customer service, Amazon revoked Mediabridge's selling privileges almost immediately.

Mediabridge addressed the incident on its Facebook page the following day. Confusingly, the Amazon review to which they directed their ire was not the one which caused the incident. Instead, the company included a screenshot of another reviewer accusing their product of being a "rebranded $20 router from China." While the reviewer who they threatened with a lawsuit is not the one who made that claim, research conducted by users in the Amazon discussion forums indicate that the one-star "Chinese router" review may be true, and that many of the five-star reviews of the Mediabridge router may in fact be fakes.

The fiasco should serve as a warning to other companies. Threatening negative reviewers with legal action is liable to blow up in one's face. In 24 hours, Mediabridge may have completely scuttled their business. Hopefully in the future, companies will respond to negative reviews in public, or otherwise ignore them and allow the community to assess the merits of a product unhindered.

Source: Ars Technica | Image via Mediabridge

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I'm seeing this a lot nowadays, companies would rather counter attack than investigate the product that has caused a negative light..

Whatever happened to 'The customer is always right, sometimes'?

Has this company never of Service with a smile

I'm going to quote myself, from my internship journal in 1997

"$10 of free service is worth $300 of advertising"

With all that being said, I also hate retarded reviewers that probably get a faulty product and start yelling from the rooftop of a review "NEVER BUY THIS, IT SUCKS!!" ... I would never say that. You could have bought a bad one.

I did recently leave a bad 1 star review for a company that we selling a very specific dell power supply, in the description it said it would fit a particular model, which it wasn't even a close fit.

I didn't say STAY AWAY, DON"T EVER BUY THIS!! ... I just said this power supply doesn't fit X computer.

Edited by warwagon, May 9 2014, 7:35pm :

I don't have any sympathy for the company involved but this does highlight the fact that Amazon allows people to post reviews for products they haven't bought. IMO that shouldn't really be allowed because it allows company's to post false reviews that are positive and it allows competitors or people with an axe to grind to post dishonest negative reviews.

As an Amazon customer, I want to be able to believe the reviews I read but this is difficult when there's no control over who can post a review.

A pretty stupid thing to do, not everyone's going to like your products, and threatening them for litigation for posting a review is silly. The whole point of the review sections is to give honest feedback to other customers. Glad Amazon did the right thing here.

I read about this on another site the other day, I was laughing my ass off, I pretty much called it: Amazon was going to sack someone over this, in this case the maker. Lawsuit cries ring out, possible shills posting positive reviews, community going apenuts over whole thing.

This sounds beyond decent damage control. LOL

I got into the habit of making unboxing videos of anything I ordered online for a while. Got a WiiMote off Amazon once and it was non-working right out of the box. Left a comment on the sellers page about it and they got all kinds of upset and threatening. Wanted me to remove the comment.

Sent the video to them and after that they offered to send another one out and I could keep the original as long as I removed the comment. I said I would edit the comment once I have it and know it works. They agreed and everything was fine after that. Even managed to fix the broken one by finding a dull soldering point on the board lol.

Make videos of anything you order. Helps when you actually have video proof.

Should be simple enough for Amazon and other sites that offer reviews to make it part of the terms to sellers. You can respond to customers remarks with your own counter comment and that's it, otherwise you don't get to sell on that site. Have to admit, I love the message this sends to companies that think legal bullying is a good idea.

well, so? it costs about 100 bucks to register a company and you can also get a fictitious name in many states ensuring that while they may have learned their lessons, a simple rebrand, while probably more expensive it can just be absorbed by the investors which...are probably going to get a new legal firm.

How hard is it to say 'Happy to help work with you to solve the problem, o alternatively your full money back'. Some companies are completely shocking at the lack of business acumen they have. Unbelievable!

Interesting. There is a similar case going on in Germany that started a couple of days ago. I don't remember the details. A customer bought something on Amazon that needed to be put together. I think it was a net for a Window. It seems the instructions were so bad, and the product so badly put together, that the pieces didn't fit and lastly the product could not be assembled and used.
So the customer put a bad review online on Amazon. The company he brought hte product from is now suing the guy for an insane amount of money, reasoning they can't sell any more product on Amazon, that they lost revenue and thus had to let go most of their staff.
The fear now is, should that company win the case, that online reviews from customers are going to cease to exist, due to the fear that if you post a bad review of the product you bought you might get sued.

Surely all the buyer has to do is to demonstrate the product in court? Instant win, assuming they were telling the truth.

If a product is bad, write a bad review. If you -lie- in that review.. Well, perhaps you might learn that lies have consequences!

FloatingFatMan said,
Surely all the buyer has to do is to demonstrate the product in court? Instant win, assuming they were telling the truth.

If a product is bad, write a bad review. If you -lie- in that review.. Well, perhaps you might learn that lies have consequences!


And this is why businesses are being forced to crack down on reviews... We've seen it ourselves, honesty goes out the window.

Sorry but no, there is no real justification for attacking even lying reviewers. If your product can't counter a few bad reviews with good ones, that's just too bad, you don't get to chill all reviewers. Many incorrect reviews are just user error or they got a "bad one" etc and are largely legitimate in their personal experience with products. It's just too subjective, but nice to see where this "attack the customer" mentality comes from.

I've bought over a dozen items from this company through Amazon Prime and have never had an issue. Mostly HMDI cables, speaker wire, Toslink cables, and Cat5.

Same here, their cables were pretty nice. How they treat customers is more important to me so I will avoid them in the future.

JHBrown said,
I've bought over a dozen items from this company through Amazon Prime and have never had an issue. Mostly HMDI cables, speaker wire, Toslink cables, and Cat5.

It might not be the same company. Apparently there was 2 companies named MediaLink.

Gerowen said,
Their products are still showing up on Amazon for me.

Probably through this party sellers? They banned the company from selling. That doesn't preclude others from selling their stuff.

spenser.d said,

Probably through this party sellers? They banned the company from selling. That doesn't preclude others from selling their stuff.


Looks like used and 3rd party only now.
The company name sounded familiar, I bought a couple HDMI and Optical cables from them off of Amazon. After hearing how they treat their customers, I won't recommend them or buy their products again.

I'd admit being one of those people who reviewed the router in question with 1 star when it all started on Reddit, even though I haven't even heard of Medialink company before. It could be debatable if doing so is ethical or not but allegations were, well, pretty serious.

I was still in doubt if Reddit is doing right, or another innocent victim of blind pitchforking. Now I'm glad that allegations were indeed true.

Sais said,
I'd admit being one of those people who reviewed the router in question with 1 star when it all started on Reddit, even though I haven't even heard of Medialink company before.

Hope you didn't use that name, as that's an entirely different company. Mediabridge is the one meant here.

It sounds like you're one of the people that posted dodgy reviews against the wrong company. The company you should have been having a go at is called Mediabridge :p

jakem1 said,
It sounds like you're one of the people that posted dodgy reviews against the wrong company. The company you should have been having a go at is called Mediabridge :p

Not to mention that it would seem rather immature for others to write negative reviews on a company they never even heard of because of something someone claimed on the internet. How do you know his claims are even true? You can't believe everything you read on the internet...

M_Lyons10 said,

Not to mention that it would seem rather immature for others to write negative reviews on a company they never even heard of because of something someone claimed on the internet. How do you know his claims are even true? You can't believe everything you read on the internet...

I don't believe you.

M_Lyons10 said,

Not to mention that it would seem rather immature for others to write negative reviews on a company they never even heard of because of something someone claimed on the internet. How do you know his claims are even true? You can't believe everything you read on the internet...

Because I spend a good long time attempting to verify the claims victim made, looking at the product he mentioned, reading hundreds of comments others made at Amazon, as well as Reddit, and checking out other products of the company we all are talking about.

If I am spending a lot of time at Neowin, Reddit etc all day, that means I have got time to waste on such stuff. ;)

1. Banning is overly excessive
2. I think almost ALL routers are made in China

Edited by ians18, May 15 2014, 10:06pm :

ians18 said,

2. I think almost ALL routers are made in China.

The point was that Medialink sold cheaper re-branded Chinese made router on much higher prices than the original Chinese company sold.

Its the new thing, if you mention a country/race of people then its a full conclusion that you are of course being racist (which of course all us intelligent people understand as being an action made against a person r group of people in a negative and 'I'm better than you' kind of way, or to persecute or otherwise treat negatively, based entirely on the Race and nothing else).

Saying this is a cheap $20 Chinese rip off is not racist, its based on the fact that China does produce a hell of a lot of fake products and as such has a reputation because of that fact - not just because they are Chinese. Race is included solely because the country is well known to produce such knockoffs.

Tidus4eva said,

Fine, we'll call it by what it really is: "one-star "ASIAN router""

Why stop there "one-star "earth made" router"

duddit2 said,

Why stop there "one-star "earth made" router"

Saying that though, would we not be prejudice against the entire planet then?

Greedy company thinks they can make a fortune by importing cheap hardware from China and selling it at premium prices. Pure Corporate greed, been happening for 20 years now, and the CEO's think they are "entitled" to get money for nothing.

They deserve to go bust.

ians18 said,

"the one-star "Chinese router""

You've chopped off the last word which makes all the difference:

one-star "Chinese router" review

It's the review that is one-star, not the router itself.


ians18 said,

"the one-star "Chinese router""

I hope you are kidding. If not, you really need to learn what racism is and is not. "Chinese" is not a racist term. That is a problem because people start insinuating things/comments are racist...when in fact they aren't. I'm a firm believer that people who throw the race card quickly, are in fact, racist themselves.

Regarding the product, there is a lot of products out there that get rebranded. That really isn't the problem. How Mediabridge responded is the problem. Unfortunately, this appears to be an increasing problem, with companies filing lawsuits over negative online reviews.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/02/...-fined-for-negative-review/
https://www.techdirt.com/artic...itic-out-her-own-home.shtml
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...099-9181471f7aaf_story.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/wo...ing-company-on-angies-list/

etc.

lol. racist. let me tell you that to say something is from china is a mere fact and not a racist comment at all. china is a very vast country and has many ethnic groups. It isn't any more racist to say you drive a cheap american car than it is to say you bought a cheap chinese router. Quite simply, a country of origin of a good or service and ethnicity of the population are completely separate matters.

in fact, the extreme of Racism is to attach race to a device. Wouldn't you agree?

neonspark said,
lol. racist. let me tell you that to say something is from china is a mere fact and not a racist comment at all. china is a very vast country and has many ethnic groups. It isn't any more racist to say you drive a cheap american car than it is to say you bought a cheap chinese router. Quite simply, a country of origin of a good or service and ethnicity of the population are completely separate matters.

in fact, the extreme of Racism is to attach race to a device. Wouldn't you agree?

Totally agree, most race card slinging is done by people who simply don't understand what racism actually is or by people that hold racist believes but are consciously unaware (not calling anyone racist names or speaking racist things, doesn't always mean you don't think in racist ways - your just politically correct in your speech).

Its getting to a point where basic descriptions of things, people etc. are called racist due to a skin colour being mentioned (as in a descriptive manor, there is no bigger difference in the appearance of a white and black male than the colour of skin, but by mentioning that in a descriptive way I have been labelled racist in the past). Its like being called sexist because you describe someone as a male, its getting ridiculous!

dvb2000 said,
Greedy company thinks they can make a fortune by importing cheap hardware from China and selling it at premium prices. Pure Corporate greed, been happening for 20 years now, and the CEO's think they are "entitled" to get money for nothing.

They deserve to go bust.

What does this have to do with Apple?