/ Shopping

Why we’ve had enough of fake reviews

Spotted a review that doesn’t look quite right? Does that product’s five-star rating just not stack up? Sign our petition to put a stop to fake reviews.

Earlier this year, we found sellers on online marketplaces and platforms confusing people by posting fake reviews to distort opinion about products and spread misinformation.

Despite telling marketplaces and platforms that there was a problem, it shows no signs of slowing down.

Well, we’ve had enough. Today, we’ve set up a petition calling for action on fake reviews.

We’ve found through several investigations that sellers on online marketplaces such as Amazon are able cheat the system by overloading product listings with fake reviews.

This is the latest in a series of investigations that we have ongoing to uncover the scale of the problem.

The impact on spending

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) estimated that in 2015, around £23 billion of spending was the result of people reading reviews.

With the explosive growth of e-commerce in the last 4 years, it’s now estimated that figure is around £38 billion.

From our analysis and research, of those who believe they received a product of an inferior quality than they were expecting, the spend impacted by fake reviews is around £1.5 billion.

That is a huge amount of consumer spending that is hanging on information that might not be true, genuine or is at the very least outright distorted to present a false impression.

Taking action

Thankfully, the regulator has recognised that there is a problem, too. The CMA recently launched a programme of work aimed at tackling fake and misleading reviews.

As a first step, they told Facebook and eBay to cut them off at the source and remove groups and listings that were encouraging the sale and trade of fake reviews.

Facebook told us it had removed the groups we reported to it, while Amazon said that it invests significant resources to protect the integrity of its reviews.

We think more needs to be done. Online platforms know that this is a problem, but they’re not taking enough proactive steps to ensure that consumers are accessing relevant, correct information about the products they are viewing on their platforms.

We’ve been working undercover for the last year, finding out about what’s happening and how sellers are managing to post these reviews.

A lot of people don’t know that fake reviews exist – these are the people who are most at risk

We want you to join us and support the first steps of our work to stamp out fake reviews.

Have you ever been asked to write a fake review? How many do you think you’ve spotted? Let us know, and support our campaign.

Comments

I had my windows done by “love Windows” after looking at their reviews which where obviously Fake as they have gone out of business- my windows will have to be taken out and redone

Did you pay by card? If so you could still get your money back.

Sorry to say, but WHAT exactly constitutes an AMAZON EXPERT??
Because I myself consider myself VERY CANNY on ebay and Amazon. But expert?? No!
Mind you I DID suss out the SCAM by AMAZON the company when they “Took payment from a card without authority. Made orders for items I had NOT made and then taken payment for those items” BUT despite PROMISES from Amazon and waiting for Amazon to respond! I lost the ability to charge back the payment. And that is NOT the first time I was taken for money by AMAZON and there totally unacceptable customer services department.

The way Amazon has built its business is on the exceptionally high quality of its customer services. If you’ve been scammed then please post the details in here in full.

I do not buy from Amazon anything I can buy in the shops in my city, but it is getting increasingly difficult to get certain products because the retailers have gone to the wall; I wonder why.

I am critical of some of the merchandising by Amazon and their blind spots over certain dangerous products offered by their Marketplace traders, but one thing I feel they are rather good at – compared with the normal standards of distance selling – is customer service and giving shoppers plenty of information throughout a purchase process. Obviously, one bad experience can leave a negative attitude for a long time and we only ever get to see one side of each story.

There are no shops near to where we live, which makes the convenience and ease of Amazon (and all the online grocery deliverers) indispensable for us, anyway.

I believe there’s little profit for the grocery companies in online food deliveries and, living where we do, I can believe it. But being able to choose what we want in the comfort of our home, and have it delivered a day or so later is invaluable to us.

jan says:
29 May 2020

I prefer to buy in shops or recommendations from people I know.
Unfortunately with lockdown I am using amazon on the odd occasion

I always avoid products that have lots of reviews that say, in the heading, FIVE STARS. I know that this goes on as someone I used to work with asked me to post a complimentary review for a travel guide that I had never read. I only ever write reviews for things that I have actually purchased and read/used.

Cc says:
20 July 2019

I personally don’t trust anyone!! I don’t buy online but tend to go by word of mouth reccomendations. Like one of the other reviewers said, if it looks too good to be true………Sometimes I’ll read a review and then if interested, ring up. I find it
easier to tell if folk are genuine by talking to them – they become pushy and even nasty when you don’t want their products!

Most reviews can’t be trusted anymore! I tried to leave honest feedback on an ebay purchased sideboard, it wasn’t anything like as good as the description and pictures! I’d type in my feedback/reveiw but it never got to be displayed to the buying public because i told the truth about the product which wasn’t favourable to the seller!😡

Christine Greene says:
24 July 2019

I have purchased a few items on Ebay that were not as good as indicated. I reported to Ebay, got my money back and left a less that flattering review, which was displayed.

Janet says:
21 July 2019

I always look for the bad reviews. Usually they all have the same complaint/problem so you know before you buy.

I recently bought some original equipment spare parts for my big name dishwasher. I was subsequently emailed with a customer satisfaction survey. When I opened it to fill in, a message came up to say it had already been done! What’s that all about then eh?

I suspect that it’s just a technical issue, Steve. If you are keen to provide feedback, just contact the company.

I had someone ring my business to ask if I wanted some extra reviews generated- even though they hadn’t used my services. For a price!

Olga says:
24 July 2019

Not only positive reviews are being faked, many sellers face fake negative reviews from their competitors. I know for sure that one particular seller not only faked positive reviews if his product, but his girlfriend and other friends from Facebook groups left many negative reviews to his competitors. Amazon removed some of them eventually, but the guy keeps doing it. And he sells eco friendly product. With such unethical behaviours.

Stuart says:
24 July 2019

I had a bad experience with a mobile phone retailer and posted a less than favorable revue I felt reflected my experience. I’ve been hounded by them to remove it and they also attempted to say it was a fake review.

The problem with fake reviews is that when you come to purchase an item which is cheaper than the original. You’ve got to understand that these items are imported from China which haven’t been passed through the UK trading standards
Especially electrical items. Its hard to believe that these type of sellers are still trading on major online sites

Buying unbranded goods is a lottery. Descriptions like ‘ make x compatible’ etc should always mean ‘caution’

Richard Evans says:
24 July 2019

Amazon are not faultless. They group reviews such that reviews shown by one product are very often for a different product. This has been going on for many years, complained about often and nothing has been done. They could, and should, take a lead

I was cheated when I wanted to buy a Blood Pressure Monitor via eBay.

I bought a “new” mobile phone from a seller on eBay that had over 1000 positive reviews. Some time later I discovered that the company was actually selling reconditioned and repackaged phones as new and the warranty was invalid.

Amazon are as much to blame as anyone. Counterfeit goods being sold on there with great reviews. That can’t be right.

David Hind says:
25 July 2019

I no longer leave reviews ( feed back) on ebay as it is impossible to leave a negative review.

Nowadays its just going to be your luck. Its almost impossible to tell if a product is new, second hand, refurbished, or has genuine reviews Most probably you should check the sellers refund policy, and always use Pay Pal for purchasing online goods.

Following several requests by eBay to submit a review after I had bought a rubbish rotary dryer cover, I found I was unable to do so. No matter how often I tried to submit my review, I kept getting the dreaded spinning circle, as if there was a connection problem, preventing my submission from being sent. I gave up, but felt sorry for others who were fooled into buying the product.

Amos says:
25 July 2019

I post negative reviews when necessary, only problem I have had was when I have had a refund from seller, it is not easy to leave a review but it can be done.

Linda Kamara says:
26 July 2019

Just recently bought items off Amazon and the seller claims they are outside of the UK/ EU because I wanted to cancel the order as postage was more than the items. When the item arrived, the seller’s address was in the UK. They go to all lengths to deceive buyers.