A Santa Clarita-based maker of handheld cordless massagers sued a cross-country rival Tuesday, alleging the competitor bribed customers to post positive reviews of its products on Amazon.

An attorney for Pado Inc. alleges in Los Angeles federal court that Moshe Friedman, owner of the New York-based Weider and Friedman Enterprises, engaged in “unlawful, deceitful, and fraudulent actions” which artificially inflated his handheld massagers, while diverting “significant business” away from the plaintiffs’ Purewave products.

A representative for Friedman could not immediately be reached.

According to Pado, Friedman offered “monetary compensation to customers who have left poor reviews in exchange for modifying or removing the reviews” of his Mighty Bliss massager and other products, the complaint alleges.

“As any retailer that sells products on Amazon is keenly aware, the number of positive reviews and the lack of negative reviews greatly influences consumers spending habits on Amazon,” according to the suit.

“The average consumer will be more apt to purchase a product on Amazon that has more positive reviews, which is why it is crucial for the user reviews posted on Amazon to be genuine and non-influenced.”

Pado stated in the suit that the complaint was brought “to ensure that the public is not deceived into buying defendants’ products based on falsely inflated customer reviews, other false and misleading representations.”

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