Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Reba Belle v. Amazon Update

We have not dropped this. Our petition is up to 644 signatures and we are still planning on sending the printed version to both Amazon and the Washington State AG’s office. We actually received a response, albeit a form one, from Amazon yesterday. While this isn’t the response that we want to hear but it is a response at this point. As we have learned from the Cassie Edwards matter, it may take time for resolution to come forth.


> —–Original Message—–
> From: Executive Customer Relations [mailto:[email protected]] > Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2008 2:08 PM
> To: [email protected]
> Subject: Your E-mail to Jeff Bezos – Petition Against Amazon to Change
> Dear Jane Little,
> My name is Peg Anderson of Executive Customer
> Relations. Jeff Bezos received your e-mail and has asked me to
> reply on his behalf. I apologize for the delay in responding.
> We appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your feedback with us.
> We take the situation very seriously and are investigating
> thoroughly. We’ll only discuss the specifics of review moderation
> with the reviewer and we appreciate your understanding.
> It’s always important for us to hear how customers feel about all
> aspects of shopping at Strong customer feedback like
> yours helps us continue to improve our store and the service we
> provide.
> Thank you for contacting
> Regards,
> Peg Anderson
> Executive Customer Relations

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Bev Stephans
    May 02, 2008 @ 10:55:12

    At least Amazon replied. Hopefully, there will be due diligence and the matter will be resolved as it should be.

  2. azteclady
    May 02, 2008 @ 10:56:06

    *crossing fingers*

    Thank you for the update, Jane.

  3. katiebabs
    May 02, 2008 @ 11:25:56

    I really hope that is not some lame response from Amazon and they do take this whole situtation seriously.

    Thanks Jane!

  4. allison
    May 02, 2008 @ 12:29:10

    I received a similar letter from Amazon, as an FYI. Though mine also mentioned that they were sorry I had cancelled my Kindle order in response to their hamhandling of this.

    Hopefully, they really are working on this instead of just sending out placating emails that are the online equivalent to a pat on the head.

  5. (Jān)
    May 02, 2008 @ 13:41:58

    I didn’t receive a response. I guess they’re glad I canceled my orders LOL. I haven’t spent a dime there since this started.

    I didn’t know you wrote Bezos, Jane. That’s the best thing you could have done, I think. Hopefully it will get the ball rolling.

  6. retroredux
    May 02, 2008 @ 15:24:21

    Is there a list anywhere of the “clique” of authors who helped DAM to cyberbully Reba Belle? As I want to get rid of any of their books I may already own and put them on my “do not buy” list.

  7. Lynne
    May 02, 2008 @ 16:32:08

    I was planning to buy an expensive item from them and to pay for part of it with a gift card from Christmas, but I decided instead to buy something for just a little over the amount of the gift card. I’m not spending another cent at Amazon until they resolve this situation in a sane manner.

    Did anyone notice that Amazon deleted a bunch of Caitrina Hunter’s comments on April 27th? What happened there?

  8. Reba Belle
    May 03, 2008 @ 12:30:35

    Good Afternoon,

    I have received similar responses from Amazon as well. But I have not heard from them since April 17, 2008, Post #636, that I wrote the telephone conversation, as follows:

    Reba Belle on April 17th, 2008 at 7:43 PM:
    Good Evening,

    I just got a call from Danielle LaFreniere, Amazon's Executive Customer Service Department, at [email protected].

    It was very disappointing…prepare yourselves before you read further.

    1. Because I posted the message that Deborah had my families names in numerous places on Amazon it is considered SPAM and I am automatically banned for violating their terms of service. Period.

    She indicated she argued my case to the “powers that be” and they may, after a period of time, grant me back in good favor as long as I agree not to post on this issue again.

    And all my previous posts will NOT be restored. Ever.

    2. It did not matter that Deborah and her “goon squad” violated the “guidelines” by threatening, harassing, or posting my family information on Amazon. She said they are still researching this information.

    3. It did not matter that I, and many of you, provided written documentation that showed how Deborah had a way to circumvent “the system.” She said they are still researching this information.

    I was not happy and told Danielle that they have been researching this for 8 months. She's had my case since January 2008, but Amazon and I have been “communicating” about this since August 2007.

    4. She told me they have some “staffing issues” and she has been transferred to a new department since January, but she is still in charge of my case, etc. Etc. Then she told me the hours that she works and she won't be back to work until Sunday…etc. Etc.

    5. She said they are trying to keep up with the information provided and reading the forums, but when I mentioned a few posts, she wasn't aware. She didn't know about the petition and I don't think she understood what I was talking about when I mentioned it, either.

    6. Bottom line: Amazon is still researching Deborah's misbehavior even though it took them less than 5 days to fully research me and have me banned. They haven't been able to “fully research” Deborah in the past 8 months.

    7. And it sounded like there was no way in Hades were they considering banning her or removing her books.

    I don't know what else to say, except will someone please share this with the good people in the forums that have been supporting this intense topic.

    A huge disappointment,


    I have not received a response from the Attorney General’s Office in Seattle, Washington (Seattle AGO) since the initial response to my case that provided a Point of Contact (POC) and Case Number. I’ve sent the POC at the Seattle AGO updates to include the DAM e-mails that were provided to Dear Author from the Ladies in Waiting Yahoo Group to “vote down down this bitch” and “report abuse.” I also provided several hyperlinks to discussions. No response.

    Today, I wrote:

    Citizen Complaint Center
    Antitrust Division, U.S. Dept of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 3322
    Washington, DC 20530

    [email protected]

    I provided links, e-mails, etc and let it be known that I, the whistleblower, was banned by Amazon as a result.

    Per their guidelines, the manipulation of reviews to fool consumers to purchase products and Amazon’s failure to act to prevent it may fall under “Collusion.”

    We’ll see what kind of assistance this office can provide.

    A quick update.

    Thank you for keeping this topic and the petition going,


  9. Pixikins
    May 04, 2008 @ 11:33:53

    Thanks for keeping up with this

  10. L
    May 06, 2008 @ 13:50:48

    Well, it looks like another Reba supporter got banned.

    Steve Hedge can no longer post comments or reviews on Amazon. No one is sure why he is banned, he has always been courteous and respectful in his comments. The only thing anyone can figure is that it’s because MacGillivray or her supporters were able to get him banned…

    Go here to read where we’re talking about it:

  11. Heather
    May 06, 2008 @ 14:00:55

    I am still wondering how this banning has happened!!! Where is Amazon?
    Their response is not satisfactory to me!!! I would like to know what they are doing about this problem!! I would also lke to know if FOX TV knows about this horrible censorship and banning? Does anyone know If this is newsworthy enough for some TV reporters to investigate this problem?

  12. Greenwise
    May 07, 2008 @ 14:16:39

    Hi all,

    Basically the canned response from Amazon was that someone found his comments abusive and spiteful, the response in its entirety is at

    I strongly suspect this is another example of people resorting to manipulation/exploitation of the automated system at Amazon. I don’t believe an actual live person has researched the complaint AT ALL. Anyone who has conversed with Steve or seen his postings can tell that he is courteous and polite even with others have resorted to flinging insults, started flame wars and then whined about how they were being attacked after they were called on it.

    There appears to be a concentrated effort to get anyone who is not willing to let the issue die down get kicked off, since Steve often makes intelligent well resoned arguments I imagine he could be considered a threat. We have yet to hear which post was considered abusive but Steve is keeping everyone posted at the romancereaders forum.

  13. Reba Belle
    May 07, 2008 @ 16:58:14

    Well, heck, I posted the same thing twice–Sorry. Jane, can you delete this post for me so it won’t clutter up the discussion?

    Thank you,


  14. Reba Belle
    May 07, 2008 @ 16:59:28


    I just scanned and uploaded:

    1. My book review and the initial comments–including my own that were deleted by Amazon. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if the review was removed by Amazon very soon.

    2. The discussion forum “Read any BAD Books Lately” where DAM, Leeanne Grant, Silky, etc attacked me–BEFORE the deletions and with their edits!

    3. The discussion forum “Deletion of Reviews to Raise Star Ratings”

    4. Leeanne Grant’s book review, dated August 7, 2007, and the comments–before they were deleted by Amazon. Please note: Leeanne Grant has two book reviews for “In Her Bed” you can find it by a) going through her reviews from her profile screen. I think it’s dated in October 2007 or b)DAMs profile page and see that she has two books for “In Her Bed.”

    Now, everyone can see my deleted posts on this subject and help put the story together.

    This information can be found at the new Romance Readers discussion group. Scroll all the way to the bottom: “All things Amazon” “Saved Data”


  15. Steve Hedge
    May 08, 2008 @ 09:44:30

    Amazing isn’t it that the evidence is out there, but Amazon, for whatever reason will not act. I think it is CYA at this point as changing anything is like an admission of guilt.

    I have questioned Amazon twice now and got the same canned response “your comments have been reported as . . .” They themselves have yet to say that THEY think my comments were such. So far, it all seems connected to their flawed automated system that allows a group to hit “abuse” on multiple comments and then find yourself banned automatically with no human verification done.

    Does anyone notice how we, those who find DAM and company’s behavior outrageous, have not made any efforts to ban anyone? We prefer to have their comments stay up where we are called lynch mobs, terrorists, bullies and so forth as it says much more about them then the people they are targeting with their insults. Amazing, not one supporter of DAM has any problems with those exaggerations or Hunter’s little blog calling people the most obscene names she can come up with.

    Personally, even if I felt as Hunter did, I would have more self-respect than to post such things wherein my children could see. I would be so embarrassed to have my children see me use such language and voice such mindless hate which apparently is no problem for Hunter, DAM, LV, and the rest of that group of nameless people or ever changing identities. It’s just us mean nasty folks standing up to an author obsessed with hurting a reviewer who dared to be critical of her work that are the problem.

    Ever noticed that when things quiet down another DAM supporter suddenly appears (new profile and all too) and attempts to stoke the flames some more? Heck, I keep watch and keep collecting info for mine and Reba’s case and, of course, you folks and the RomanceReaders, keep an eye on things too. However, I won’t let this consume.

    I’m moving forward and with Amazon’s permission I did start up another profile and will eventually move my reviews over to that one and shut my old one down if they don’t reinstate me. I’m still optimistic that Amazon will come around at some point when they see the issue isn’t going away. Getting me banned was the best thing that could happen for the situation as a whole as it continues to show how their system can be easily abused. I regret NOTHING no matter what the final result. :o)

  16. Steve Hedge
    May 08, 2008 @ 15:14:47

    Apparently the DAM machine of clicking like mad the “abuse” button is in full swing yet again as comments that Reba and I made via a third party on Amazon are systematically being deleted now. Is there no level this woman and her cronies won’t stoop to?

    I never reported her or her cronies for deletion as I WANTED their abusive, threatening, and goading comments to remain up for all to see. Well, at least their is Caitrina Hunter’s blog page to support our claims of how low DAM and/or her fanatical fans will go. I love it when your adversaries prove your point for you. It saves a lot of time.

    By all means folks, keep posting ugly stuff and deleting our responses. It is certainly making our case, showing Amazon the flaws of their system, and getting more and more attention. There are a flood of new people posting there now who have never posted before. Nice work crew! Keep our issue in the spotlight for us and keep proving our point. People with nothing to hide, hide NOTHING, but don’t let that slow you down any –keep on trying to delete those that disagree with you.


  17. lisa
    May 09, 2008 @ 16:23:54

    I’ve been following first Reba’s and now Steve’s stories. The DAM stuff that was done to you isn’t that uncommon on Amazon. About a year ago, I had it done to me by a kensington author & her friends. They didn’t post my info but they were very nasty until I took the review down. I tucked my tail and never, ever posted another review. I still get recommends for the author, even though I cancelled all the orders I had for her books. I wrote amazon and kensington, never heard a peep from either. It’s a shame that amazon would ban you guys, but it seems to be par for the course at amazon. Kensington didn’t seem to care how an author would treat one of their customers. I pulling for both of you and hope to “see” you on the forums soon.

  18. Peter Durward Harris
    May 09, 2008 @ 16:33:50

    Romance Readers discussion group

    I can’t find the “All about Amazon” section. Maybe it only shows up if you’re registered?

  19. Peter Durward Harris
    May 09, 2008 @ 16:34:38

    Is there a list anywhere of the “clique” of authors who helped DAM to cyberbully Reba Belle?

    Probably not as such, but if you look up DAM’s profile page and scroll down far enough, you’ll see that she has a list of Amazon friends (143 of them as I write this). Use that as a guide, but be careful. Not all of these people are guilty and I know that Kristi Ahlers has distanced herself from DAM on the earlier threads. Some of the others may also be former friends of DAM that haven’t been removed from the list. I never bother purging my own list of friends and there’s very few people on my list that I actually have any contact with. Nevertheless, if you use DAM’s list as a starting point, her co-conspirators are likely to be there.

  20. Robin
    May 09, 2008 @ 19:29:57

    Hey everyone, I’m trying to access that Amazon page on the Romance Readers discussion group, but I can’t find it. I can’t even get anything in search mode. Do I have to register or am I missing something obvious here? Any help would be appreciated, as I am trying to finish the Amazon letter this weekend. Also, if you have any relevant information for that, please feel free to email me at [email protected].

  21. Peter Durward Harris
    May 09, 2008 @ 19:30:32

    Meanwhile, Caitrina’s solitary blog post continues to attract comments. There are now 10, but one was deleted by the author.

    This is interesting ….

    “Good for you! You said it so well. Peter with no job (he’s a whack job and who would hire him?) has been stalking this author for years. He’s hated her for no reason and now thinks he has found a way to get at her. Someone said this started over a 3 star review, but it’s much more than that. Those of us who know the truth, got our guts pulled out without anesthesia for defending the author and stating the truth. People don’t want truth, they want sensationalism. Who cares if this author is being stalked and hounded and told to end her life to put herself out of her misery. Who cares how the truth has been twisted and turned until it is unrecognizable. The Jaynes of DearAuthor, the bitch who is Karen of KarenKnowsBest (she knows nothing), Peter the UnGreat, their followers are nothing but self-righteous hyporcites. They are losers with no life so they have to run the lives of others to make themselves so self-important. I could go on and on about the viciousness of all of this, but what’s the point? No one cares about the truth. Your blog was spot on.”

    …. but that’s just one opinion, of course.

    Meanwhile, I deleted all my posts on the romance books forum. They served a purpose at the time. I don’t see any point in leaving them up there now.

  22. Peter Durward Harris
    May 11, 2008 @ 14:14:37

    OK I’ve figured out that the “All about Amazon” stuff on the “Romance Readers discussion group” is only accessible to those who register although the other stuff is publicly visible.

    After some consideration, I’ve decided that I won’t be registering. It will cause confusion for me. If you wish to tell me about anything, send me a message. If you’ve got my e-mail address, use it. Otherwise, you can use my contact page. Anybody can use that. Alternatively, if you’ve got a MySpace account, you can reach me via the MySpace link from my name in the post header.

    I hope that at some stage, any discussions on the internet can once again be held in a public forum. Preaching to the converted is not an effective way of spreading the message.

  23. EssieLou
    May 11, 2008 @ 16:36:41

    Peter I just emailed you.

  24. EssieLou
    May 11, 2008 @ 16:37:06

  25. Peter Durward Harris
    May 11, 2008 @ 16:51:15

    I received the e-mail, thanks. I’ll think about it.

  26. Susiq2
    May 11, 2008 @ 17:14:04

    Peter, Please come join us at the new romance Forum. We talk about all types of novels, discuss recipes, post reviews, have reading circles, and just visit. Please come and see us, Okay?

  27. Peter Durward Harris
    May 11, 2008 @ 17:17:16

    Maybe tomorrow …. It’s late at night this side of the Atlantic.

  28. Susiq2
    May 11, 2008 @ 18:48:20

    Good night, Peter, I hope to “see” you tomorrow:>)

  29. Leigh
    May 12, 2008 @ 09:52:07

    I want to note my appreciation for your research.

    In an article for Criminal Brief, I referenced your site and your work:

  30. Reba Belle
    May 12, 2008 @ 11:57:11


    I’m scratching my head on this one. Went to Amazon to check my review and noticed two things:

    1. All the reviews are now gone from “In Her Bed” and it shows only one review–a five star, posted May 12, 2008.

    2. But, when I go to the saved link for my book review, it is still there–minus all the comments.



  31. Peter Durward Harris
    May 12, 2008 @ 12:48:38

    It looks like a glitch, because the review is still listed among those attached to your profile page.

  32. Peter Durward Harris
    May 16, 2008 @ 16:09:09

    “Caitrina Hunter” in one of her amazing blog posts, suggested that Steve and I share a brain. The spat we had on the Romance readers forum will come as a shock to her. But I knew it would come at some point – I just didn’t expect that it would happen as fast as it did. It is a fact that the whole issue has brought together people who would normally not be seen dead with each other. It is best for all concerned that I cease posting on the Romance readers forum. By having registered, I can lurk and I can send private messages to the other participants, but I won’t post there again.

  33. Steve Hedge
    May 16, 2008 @ 21:34:27

    Peter and group here,

    I offer my sincerest apologizes for losing my head earlier on that other site. I think most know that that is not my normal manner and I’m usually rather calm and patient, but I admit when I feel dismissed, devalued, or irrelevant, my worst side takes over.

    I only tried to post what I thought was some kind of minor victory and a sign of improvement that Amazon was beginning to take some steps in the right direction and simply felt like I was being belittled. Whether that was intentional or not matters little, it’s simply how I felt at the time.

    Peter, as I’ve told you before, you are a very intelligent man, but your lack of some humility at times can be frustrating. Of course, that doesn’t excuse my conduct. I very sincerely apologize for losing my head and becoming rude to you. The moment just got the best of me and my
    conduct was uncalled for. Please know that I am not a grudge holder and I have fought with others from time to time and still stayed friends with them. Hopefully, that can be said of us still. Spouses fight and so do friends, but I would not stop posting there because of that, but I can’t fault you should you decide not to post anymore, however, I will regret it would be because of my anger at one given moment.


  34. Peter Durward Harris
    May 17, 2008 @ 02:49:44

    Steve – I accept your apology but as I’ve indicated to others, I won’t be posting again on the Romance readers forum. It was set up to be a happy place away from Amazon and it clearly won’t be if I continue posting there.

    I will continue to lurk and I will maintain contact with some of the participants via the private message services offered within the Romance readers forum, via MySpace, via this thread or via e-mail. It’s not as if I will be hard for people to find.

    Whatever advantages you perceive Amazon’s top reviewers to have, it is completely untenable for me to continue working with you. Apart from anything else, such a perception may lead you or others to believe that I can get more out of Amazon than anybody else on the Romance readers forum. You say that you’ve been very successful in getting Amazon to change things, which suggests that there isn’t any preferential treatment for top reviewers, since you haven’t yet achieved that status (though I expect you will if you continue reviewing on Amazon). You can’t have it both ways.

    My reasons for getting involved in this case were as follows

    1) It being an extreme case, Amazon are more likely to take decisive action than they do for more mundane cases. I’ve seen this previously, particularly with the “delete and re-post” facility. Re-posted reviews now carry the date of the original review to prevent abuse of the option. In the same way, Amazon will be forced to intervene on review abuse reporting. They introduced the automated facility because they were inundated with complaints. The “Report this” link presumably reduced the volume of e-mails significantly (but I don’t have any information to support this) and if so, it’s easy to see why Amazon are reluctant to abandon automation. But this case shows why they’ll have to, at least in part.

    2) It is a problem for all Amazon customers and reviewers. You’ll know that reviewers have a bad reputation within some sections of Amazon’s customer base. Like all reviewers, this inevitably affects me in some way thogh it’s impossible to measure. Of course, there are other problems with the reviewing system, but as somebody told me, if you’re going to eat an elephant, it’s best to do so in small chunks.

    3) My history with the chief villian. When it comes to malpractice of any kind, the same names keep coming up. (TX is another case.) If DAM isn’t stopped as a result of this case, she will likely go on to commit other, more serious, offenses.


    Since getting involved, I have been impressed (for the most part) with Reba’s performance. I want victory for her sake. I also want victory for all the ex- and current Highland Press authors who have suffered through their experiences with DAM.

    So I have plenty of reasons to continue contributing in any way that I can, but you and I will have to each make our own separate contributions.

    But the biggest contribution may yet be made by “I never delete anything” who claims to have incrimninating e-mails and is apparently willing to allow them to be used in evidence. I don’t know if Reba has yet been able to contact that person, but I hope that contact will be established if it hasn’t already been.


    Now we come to TX

    I reiterate, Amazon do NOT TOLERATE plagiarism because it may lead Amazon into unwinnable lawsuits. If anybody believes that TX is guilty of plagiarism, let’s have the evidence, or let the person with the evidence present it correctly to Amazon. I explained all this in my guide Complain to Amazon about a reviewer, for which I posted a link on the Romance readers forum, later deleted along with all my other posts there.

  35. Robin
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 06:23:43

    I am an Amazon reviewer–have been for ten years. I’m growing more and more discontent with the system–both from Amazon and from people manipulating from the outside.

    This whole DAM situation has only recently come to my attention. I had a similar problem with one of DAM’s ‘friends’ writing a 3 star review that was not at all unflattering. The review disappeared and kept doing so.

    Part of the problem with Amazon is their off-shore customer service. Any editing is done by someone in India.

    Many times a 1 or 2 star review returns with “Cannot post because this is a personal opinion.” Yet, Amazon encourages you to post opinions as long as they are not disparaging.

    I’m not entirely sure that after ten years of hosting customer reviews that Amazon really knows what they want or how to govern it.

  36. louisev
    Jun 16, 2008 @ 22:25:32

    this is a very interesting discussion. I had one book published and someone I told about my book right after it went up on Amazon posted a completely bogus and silly review even though he had not read the book and the content of the review had nothing to do with the story and even quoted an erroneous author’s name. I complained by reporting the post as the book author, but the review was never taken down. I suppose that may be because the review was ‘four stars’ even though the content was complete nonsense. Does anyone know if Amazon also refuses to remove silly nonsense reviews that are positive? Because I complained several times and never ever got a response.

  37. Peter Durward Harris
    Jun 17, 2008 @ 01:19:23

    Amazon have indeed removed reviews even if they’re five stars, if they don’t comply with the guidelines for writing reviews. Always remember to quote author, title, ISBN, date of review and reviewer’s name.

  38. Sperrin
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 11:16:08

    I know I am coming into the game way late, but was this issue ever resolved?

  39. John Talley
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 14:28:31

    It sounds like you’re creating problems yourself by trying to solve this issue instead of looking at why their is a problem in the first place.

  40. Sinister Music
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 03:50:31

    This is frankly frightening to think about, that an author would go to these lengths to get even with a person who wrote a non-glowing review of their book. Brrr… I definitely signed the petition!!

  41. a hamilton
    Aug 11, 2010 @ 20:29:28

    Hi: Please be advised that you can never speak directly to the people who ban you.
    They have 2-3 layers of people between Jeff Bezos, and us (the public).
    All they give you is standard answers.

    I was banned because 5-6 people ganged up on me complained to Amazon on a discussion site, and I was banned.No appeal etc.
    The people who complained were deleted by Amazon for their language and attacks,I had not been deleted, while they were!
    An example, one person called me a douchebag, but after 6 complaints, Amazon found no fault.
    While I was Emailing them another person told someone to eat shit and die, Amazon did nothing.
    They are arbitrary, and selective in their enforcement, and nothing can be done.
    One day, fairness and ethics will reach Bezos, obviously he has forgotten the old American ethic, to defend oneself and justice (banning) should be equitable.

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