So, those checking out the Huawei Mate 10 Pro on Best Buy’s website in recent weeks might have been understandably confused to see a bunch of glowing, 5-star reviews for the handset. At the risk of stating the obvious, those reviews were bogus.
According to 9to5Mac, Huawei—the global No. 3 phone maker which has come under scrutiny in the US about potentially spying for the Chinese government—recently solicited the reviews in exchange for a chance to beta test the device.
“Ready for the Mate 10 Pro?” the company posted to a private Facebook group with 60,000 members on Jan. 31, according to the report. “We are looking for US device beta testers.” The post then instructed group members to visit “the review section” of Best Buy’s Mate 10 Pro pre-order page and post “why you WANT to own the Mate 10 Pro.”
Following that post, the Mate 10 Pro racked up more than 100 Best Buy reviews.
“This phone is best! I have a iPhone X, but I will switch to Huawei m10!” wrote one user who likely never even held the phone, according to 9to5Mac. Huawei’s Customer Care team reportedly responded to that review, writing: “Thank you for your nice comments on the marvelous Mate 10 Pro.”
Don’t bother trying to scope out the phony reviews on Best Buy’s site. Best Buy told PCMag it has removed them.
“Reviews on our site are important to customers as they research and shop for tech, but the comments have to be trusted and legitimate,” Best Buy wrote. “These were not, so they have been removed.”
Huawei, meanwhile, did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment, but shared its side of the story with Gizmodo:
“Huawei’s first priority is always the consumer and we encourage our customers to share their experiences with our devices in their own voice and through authentic conversation,” Huawei wrote. “We believe there is confusion around a recent social media post reaching out to recruit new beta testers. While there are reviews from beta testers with extensive knowledge of the product, they were in no way given monetary benefits for providing their honest opinions of the product. However, we are working to remove posts by beta testers where it isn’t disclosed they participated in the review program.”
Legitimate misunderstanding or not, the incident likely won’t help Huawei make any friends in the US, something with which the company had already been struggling. AT&T and Verizon decided not to offer the Mate 10 Pro, reportedly due to pressure from the US government, all but guaranteeing the phone won’t be a top seller here.