How can you tell if a company is any good or if it’s one to be avoided? One of the things most of us do is check reviews to see what others think. And there’s one site that rules them all. But take a look to see if Trustpilot is reliable and why I would take it all with a pinch of salt.
I hope, by now, at least one person has taken my advice on board. When you shop online, don’t just accept the first price you find. There are plenty of shops to choose from and more often than not, trying to undercut each other to get your business. There are also plenty of cashback sites to use so you can get an even better deal.
But occasionally, you may find a price that looks incredibly tempting. Cheaper than elsewhere but not so cheap for you to think it’s a scam. The issue is, you’ve never heard of the shop.
The first thing most of us will do is a little bit of digging, which usually involves checking out company reviews on Google. Trustpilot will be near the top of these results. And with over 65 million reviews on there, it’s not surprising. This google search will also tell you how many reviews the site has had and the average rating out of 10. And if it has 8 out of 10 with a few thousand reviews, it must be a good site, right? Wrong.
Delve a little deeper
No matter which review site you use never take ratings at face value. It’s very easy to leave a 5-star rating but much harder for somebody to justify it. Always spend a couple of minutes reading what people have said.
1st of all, does it even look like it’s been written by a person with a good knowledge of English? I don’t mean if the spelling and grammar are correct, but whether it flows how you would expect.
A while ago, I saw a thread on Money Saving Expert and somebody was asking about a company called Megadeals. A quick check on Google shows that it has over 2000 reviews and a rating of 7.3 which made it look quite impressive. But looking through the reviews makes you think twice.
One review, from a very English sounding Kenneth Price, stated:
A crisp and efficient, effective service and delivery of purchase. The tracking of goods in transite was excellent and accurate.
Now, who do you know that talks like that? Anyone?
But, you have to account for the fact that other nationalities also use Trustpilot, so I continued to look through more reviews.
Surprisingly, many of the 5 stars came from people who had not received their product yet! How can you review a service when you have not even received it?
This makes you wonder what the company is doing to encourage people to leave these reviews. And why Trustpilot never bothers to look through them.
Buying Trustpilot reviews
What I’m hinting to above is that I believe there are companies out there purchasing fake reviews. And in some ways, who can blame them? This is the King of review sites and if you have the thumbs-up from Trustpilot, you must have a great company. Right?
If you search google for ‘buy Trustpilot reviews’ you will see sites like this:
That’s right, for less than the price of a coffee you can start buying yourself reviews. And it’s not just google either. Take a look at sites like Fiverr and you’ll see plenty of people offering to give reviews.
One guy, offered 2 reviews for £8.36. He also wrote:
Please give me your text & link in my inbox to complete your Oder properly.- Please come fast to inbox me and get super offer.
Now I know where the poorly written reviews come from.
Some companies can be very clever at wiping out any negative reviews.
Several years ago, I sold some CD’s to a very famous company who shall remain nameless.
However, even after plenty of contact, it took several months for me to receive payment. I was that annoyed, I decided to leave my first (and last) review on Trustpilot. I stuck to the facts and gave a rating of 2 out of 5.
Within a few days, my review had been challenged by the company and deleted. Trustpilot said that I needed proof that I was a customer. So, I forwarded them a copy of my receipt and expected it to be reinstated. But, they claimed that this wasn’t good enough and I would need to send something else. I gave up at this point.
This goes to show that if a company wants to, they can have any negative comments deleted. After all, they could always claim that the receipt that I provided wasn’t genuine and I was a competitor, trying to tarnish their name.
Take the rough with the smooth
I’ve said about not always trusting good reviews, but you can’t always trust lots of negative reviews either. According to research, if you have a good experience with a company, you will tell 3 people. But a bad experience and we tell 10. That means that we’re quick to the internet if we want to complain about something but not so much when we’re giving praise.
That means the likes of Currys has a rather terrible 2.8 rating. Now, I’m not suggesting that each of the poor ratings that Currys receives isn’t deserved, it’s just that they don’t always receive the credit they should. I have used them dozens of times over the years without an issue and have left no reviews.
Is Trustpilot reliable?
So what do we understand from Trustpilot reviews? If a company has a good reputation, don’t necessarily think it’s all deserved. Equally, a bad rating doesn’t mean the company is terrible.
To summarise, I wouldn’t put a great deal of faith in Trustpilot reviews. It’s a system that can be easily manipulated.