How to spot fake reviews

How to spot fake reviews

by Martin Newman


Posted on Tuesday 3rd November 2020



Reviews are everywhere; this much we know. Reviews can be useful as they give us an insight into what we’re going to buy before we purchase it. They can sometimes be funny, alarming and, unfortunately, an increasing number of fake reviews can now be seen on the Internet. 

But how do you spot a fake review from the genuine, very useful ones? Here are some tricks we’ve gathered to make you review-savvy!

 

Make sure the website is not fake: 

We recommend that you check our article on how to spot fake websites. Studies show that you are more likely to stumble upon fake reviews when a website or ecommerce company is not legitimate. (Which?)

 

Ditch the stars!

We’ve said this in the past and it has never been truer than it is now. Be suspicious of glowing 5-star ratings. Sometimes, these have even been requested by sellers who have paid for someone to write them. Nothing is truly perfect, is it?

 

Pay close attention to the comments:

Is the language over the top? For example; Products “changing people’s lives”? Run away! Those are cleverly manufactured reviews often paid for by the seller to incite you into buying. We get it! We all want to be reassured by amazing feedback when we buy online, telling us how wonderful the product is and that it is “great value for money”. And for this, we have a trick: see if the customer is sharing their experience. Look out for sentences such as: “was a bit difficult to put together but, all in all, works great” or “delivered a little bit late, but the seller was very accommodating, and the product is as expected”.

 

Check the reviewers’ names:

Often when sellers buy reviews from companies from overseas, you will find a flurry of names that are supposed to replicate what a British/Spanish/French name is – at least, in these companies’ mind. It might not always be the case, but it is something to also take into account.

For Spanish-speaking countries, it could be: Pablo, Juan, Javier, Maria… for French-speaking countries: Pierre, Jacques, Marie, Paul… for Germany: Hans, Uwe, Pieter, Frieda… and for English-speaking countries: James, John, Mary, Peter…

It only means these names have been pre-generated, since sellers will often buy hundreds or thousands of fake reviews at one time. No time to add foreign names or even Welsh, Scottish and Irish-sounding ones which would make those reviews a little more credible. This is not to say all the aforementioned names are signs of possible fake reviewers, just that, in this day and age, our names are increasingly cosmopolitan and less ‘typical’ or ‘traditional.’

 

Be wary of reviews with pictures:

Who wouldn’t trust a review with pictures? Actually, this is often the first thing we see on Amazon when scrolling down for reviews and customer comments. Some might be genuine, but others may have been asked by the seller specifically for the reasons mentioned above.

But why would people post fake reviews?

Money, of course. Some companies live off it, as mentioned before. Also, a seller can be willing to contact anyone and have them write a glowing review on the promise the item will be refunded.

 

Read the bad reviews:

Read the bad reviews and check for patterns. Many people complain about a product breaking in just a few days or that the product does not look as advertised? This could mean that these concerns are authentic.

What would also raise a red flag is an abrupt overflow of immediate 4 or 5-star reviews right after the less positive ones have shown up. This is a sign of the seller trying to bury them under amazing comments.

 

If it’s too good to be true…

… it probably is! Unfortunately, when you look for products online, you need to be very wary of some offers that may promise the moon at a very cheap price!

In some instances, it may not necessarily mean the seller is trying to scam you, so be careful and make sure to read the product’s description in full.

After all, we all make mistakes.

In general, be aware of what products usually cost. Would you find a good armchair for £30? Would a high-tech memory foam king size mattress under £100 last as long as you want? Are you really in for a bargain with these brand-new, high-end designer sneakers for just £25?

 

Check the other comments that reviewers have made:

It can be done by simply clicking on their account. This will help you to decide whether this person has had a genuine experience or not. Again, check how the review has been written and if their experience is mentioned. See if the person has bought the same thing multiple times and posted amazing reviews for each one. This is, once again, the sign of someone being paid for their feedback.

What we would also recommend…

If you’re still unsure whether or not a review can be trusted, you can use these websites:

Fakespot and ReviewMeta 

By copying and pasting a URL to a review, they will both analyse whether the review is genuine or not.

 

And what about Customer Service Action?

When you submit a compliment or a complaint on Customer Service Action, you are asked via email to confirm your email address. This is to prove to us that you’re not a bot. Our team of dedicated analysts will then review your complaint and decide whether or not your submission can be approved.

Should you wish to submit either a compliment or a complaint, please do so here:



And to finish our article, here’s a video to make you laugh as well as make you think: