Do you trust those online reviews?

Thinking about using a company, product, or service based on online reviews? You’re probably interested in getting the best service – and price – for your money. You might have read what other customers have written to help with your decision. But can you always trust those online reviews? Just how credible are they?

 

Here’s a real-life example of how online reviews aren’t always what they seem. The FTC alleged that AmeriFreight – an automobile shipment broker – regularly offered customers cash discounts and other cash incentives to encourage them to write glowing online reviews. The company also placed the positive reviews in ads, touting them as unbiased proof of customer satisfaction. But, the FTC says, AmeriFreight never disclosed that it paid its customers to write the reviews. This may have led people to believe that prior customers were voluntarily posting positive, unbiased reviews due to their great satisfaction with AmeriFreight’s services.

The bottom line? The law says reviewers should disclose their connection to a company, but that doesn’t always happen. AmeriFreight’s customer reviews were biased because of the cash incentives. And if the company had told people about the incentives, potential customers might have read the reviews more critically.

It always pays to be a savvy customer. The next time you plan to buy anything based on an online review:

  • Think about the source of the review. Ask yourself: Where is this review coming from? Is it from an expert organization or individual customers?
  • Compare online reviews from a wide variety of websites. You can get a good idea about a company, product, or service from reading user reviews on various retail or shopping comparison sites. You also can look for websites that specialize in reviewing products, and that offer expert reviews and comparisons for what you are looking to buy.
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Follow the Money, Literally.

This is very true, a lot go to third party.

thank you

wow just dont what to say

l been cheated by american resort lnternational ltd for a least $60.000 for seven years at $300.00 at 14.75% lncluding maintanance fees and lawyers,court cost ect,ect,ect.

i WONDER about Angie's List

Supposedly I won $1,100,000.00 in the Strike it Rich iX Sweepstakes, is that even a real sweepstakes? Should I take this serious?

If you got a card, a call, or an email telling you that you won a sweepstakes, watch for some signs that you’re dealing with a scam:

  • You have to pay
  • You have to wire money before you get the "prize"
  • You have to deposit a check they’ve sent to you, and then send some money back to them.

This article about Prize Scams has more information.

Don't believe ANY OF IT

Sweepstakes Audit Bureau, in this prize package, I won $12,000,000.00. Is this a real sweepstakes?

I already have done my homework because I reported you all spam email people that I don't know sent me . From now I will forward you all unknown email

I as a consumer am very concerned about the proliferation of businesses which provide reviewing services for merchants at companies such as Amazon. For example this one

These include a number of "coupon clubs" which provide deep discounts to get around the website metrics such as Amazon Tracker. It is deceptive in multiple ways in that their participants often believe that they are working for an Amazon affiliate when they are not, and their continued participation is based on whether they provide positive reviews of products for sellers which affects search metrics and ratings leading to fraudulent representation to customers. The proliferation of companies like this is causing huge amounts of consumer loss as well as undermining online companies.

I work for a company that is paying customers to write positive Google reviews of their business. The way they treat their customers is horrible, and the online perception is so poor that they have resorted in paying people to write positive reviews, in order to improve their ratings.

You can report the company doing misleading or false adverstising to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

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