You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Unscrupulous sellers mislead shoppers with fake product reviews

0
Written by: Paloma Kubiak
22/10/2018
Shoppers relying on product reviews when making a purchase are warned about fake postings after an investigation revealed people receive freebies and refunds in exchange for glowing write-ups.

A number of groups on Facebook, some with tens of thousands of members, offer free or discounted products in exchange for 5* reviews.

An investigator at campaign group Which? set up Amazon and Facebook accounts and joined several ‘reward for reviews’ groups.

They were told to order a specific item through Amazon and once they had written a review and shared a link, they would receive a refund for the cost of the item.

But where the review was not positive enough, no refund was received and the seller could not be contacted.

In one case, the investigator gave a two-star review for a smartwatch and they were told by the seller that the review would need to be re-written because they had received it for free so should by default receive a 5* rating.

A Which? survey of 2,073 people showed that 97% of people use online reviews when researching a purchase, with 31% being disappointed after buying a product because of excellent feedback scores.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) estimates that £23bn a year of UK consumer spending is influenced by online customer reviews.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “Sellers are effectively ripping people off with paid-for reviews. They don’t represent an honest and impartial opinion, but instead mislead people into buying products that they might have otherwise avoided.

“We all like to do research before buying something. Watch out for unscrupulous sellers and use independent review sites, such as Which?, to make sure you’re getting the products you want.”

Amazon and Facebook response

In its response Amazon said: “We do not permit reviews in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment. Customers and sellers must follow our review guidelines and those that don’t will be subject to action including potential termination of their account.”

Facebook said: “Facilitating or encouraging the trade of fake user reviews is not permitted on Facebook. We urge people to use our reporting tools to flag content they suspect may violate our standards so that we can take swift action.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

ISAs: your back-to-basics guide for 2018/19

Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your unused ISA allowance ahead of the 5 April deadli...

A guide to Sharia savings accounts

A number of Sharia savings products have upped their game in recent months, beating more familiar competitors ...

Five ways to get on the property ladder without the Bank of Mum and Dad

A report suggests the Bank of Mum and Dad is running low on funds. Fortunately, there are other options for st...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Having a baby and your finances: seven top tips

We’re guessing the Duchess of Cambridge won’t be fretting about maternity pay or whether she’ll still be...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co...

Money Tips of the Week

  • RT @Defaqto: Will your home insurance leave you out in the cold? 🤔 Only a fifth of home contents insurance policies, and a quarter of home…
  • Will your home insurance leave you out in the cold? 🤔 Only a fifth of home contents insurance policies, and a quar… https://t.co/zdrVTUduNB
  • 10 reasons to get your #TaxReturn done now - and they could all mean more money for you! 💷 Questions about your ta… https://t.co/QqA42ylJEj

Read previous post:
Stock of the week: Tate & Lyle

This week’s stock tip is a British agribusiness which has grown from its humble beginnings of supplying sugar.

Close