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Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates Running out of Money to Support Services Such as Police, Fire and Parks

The cost of fire services have increased nearly two-fold in 2019

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Bezos whose worth nearly $119 billion is running out of money. VOA

The Washington town where billionaire Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates live is running out of money, the media has reported.

Bezos and Gates, who are worth nearly $119 billion and $107 billion, respectively, have homes in the small town of Medina, in Washington, which is running out of money to support services such as police, fire and parks.

Global retail behemoth Amazon is headquartered in Seattle while software giant Microsoft is just outside the city. “A town newsletter sent out this month is urging residents to vote yes on a ballot measure that would lift the property tax cap.

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Flickr

“You may find it hard to imagine that the City doesn’t have enough income to sustain current service levels, particularly in this economy. While property values continue to rise, the City’s tax revenues don’t rise in tandem, the newsletter read,” the Fox Business reported on Tuesday. The cost of fire services have increased nearly two-fold in 2019.

ALSO READ: Instagram Planning to Enter into e-Trade Business, Threatens Amazon Dominance

“This fall, the question of how to maintain Medina will go to voters. The Medina City Council is placing a levy lid-lift measure on the Nov. 2019 ballot. If approved, the levy lid-lift would provide funds to continue current service levels without significant cuts,” the newsletter stated, according to the Fox Business. The town has a population of just over 3,000 people, and is the seventh-richest zip code in the country. (IANS)

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US Lawmakers Press Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Fake Product Reviews

The Hill quoted an Amazon spokesperson as saying that the company “invests significant resources to protect the integrity of reviews”

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks onstage in Seattle. Source-VOA

US lawmakers have sought answers from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on what the platform is doing to rid it of fake product reviews.

In a letter on Tuesday, Frank Pallone Jr., Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, and Jan Schakowsky, who leads the committee’s consumer protection panel, asked Bezos how Amazon identifies, prevents and responds to fraudulent product reviews.

“Amazon can and should do more to protect consumers from these deceptive practices and we would like to better understand what measures your company is taking to address this issue,” the two Democrats wrote.

They also pointed out that fake product reviews also hurt competitors who play by the rules.

The lawmakers cited a BuzzFeed News report which said that unscrupulous businesses pay as much as $10,000 per month to generate positive reviews on Amazon that will trick consumers into buying their products.

They also cited a study by consumer group “Which?” that found thousands of fake reviews with obvious signs of fraud across dozens of popular tech categories on Amazon.

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Security guards stand at the reception desk of the Amazon India office in Bengaluru, India, Aug. 14, 2015. VOA

Among other things, the study found that little known brands dominated search results in these categories.

The lawmakers also raised questions about the use of “Amazon’s Choice” label on some of the off-brand electronics products to indicate that they are “highly rated well-priced products”, while many of them have been found to be of poor quality and even defective.

Also Read: Apple Planning to Launch a Brand New iPad: Report

“Online reviews significantly affect consumers’ shopping decisions and it is important that Amazon proactively protect consumers from such misleading and harmful behaviour,” they wrote.

The Hill quoted an Amazon spokesperson as saying that the company “invests significant resources to protect the integrity of reviews”.

“Even one inauthentic review is one too many,” the spokesperson added. (IANS)