wHIZZY

Customer Reviews

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A while back I bought a product marketed as a USB purification device from a major specialist company offering easy no questions asked returns. Despite their website showing 5 star customer reviews for the product, it didn't take me long to realise the item did nothing to improve my system, so I duly returned it and as promised received a full refund along with a note saying they were surprised as other customers had been delighted. 

Following my experience, I duly sent a review awarding the device just one star and explaining it had simply not performed in my system. That review has never found its way onto the sellers site and I notice the device in question still carries even more 100% five star reviews than when I first ordered it. 

So is there any point in even looking a customer reviews?

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1 hour ago, wHIZZY said:

A while back I bought a product marketed as a USB purification device from a major specialist company offering easy no questions asked returns. Despite their website showing 5 star customer reviews for the product, it didn't take me long to realise the item did nothing to improve my system, so I duly returned it and as promised received a full refund along with a note saying they were surprised as other customers had been delighted. 

Following my experience, I duly sent a review awarding the device just one star and explaining it had simply not performed in my system. That review has never found its way onto the sellers site and I notice the device in question still carries even more 100% five star reviews than when I first ordered it. 

So is there any point in even looking a customer reviews?

To be honest, customer reviews are a scourge; there's even an entire industry built on shill reviews where reviewers/pluggers get paid to promote brands/products online via a third party. It may seem harmless, but it is imo more than shifty. You can even hire fake protestors to support your cause these days...

Edited by Headcoat

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It depends on the site. I generally find reviews on the Screwfix website helpful for instance, along with some being funny for just how daft they are!

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18 minutes ago, MartinC said:

It depends on the site. I generally find reviews on the Screwfix website helpful for instance, along with some being funny for just how daft they are!

Good point, might it depend in the type of product rather than the site?

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14 minutes ago, MartinC said:

It depends on the site. I generally find reviews on the Screwfix website helpful for instance, along with some being funny for just how daft they are!

Yes screwfix is ok, I always look at the 1 star ones. I’ve had poor reviews not published on some Hotel booking sites. 

Edited by StingRay

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9 minutes ago, StingRay said:

Yes screwfix is ok, I always look at the 1 star ones. I’ve had poor reviews not published on some Hotel booking sites. 

Interesting point on 1 star reviews is people are also paid to negatively shill the opposition i.e. 1 star reviews are sometimes, even often, fake. Don't have the link to hand but read an article recently on exactly this subject, third party marketing companies hire people to both promote product and slate the opposition online more than we could imagine, it was eye opening.

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2 minutes ago, Headcoat said:

Interesting point on 1 star reviews is people are also paid to negatively shill the opposition i.e. 1 star reviews are sometimes, even often, fake. Don't have the link to hand but read an article recently on exactly this subject, third party marketing companies hire people to both promote product and slate the opposition online more than we could imagine, it was eye opening.

Yes but you can usually tell. I doubt you will get that much on products sold by Screwfix but it’s more common for restaurants/Hotels. Some bad reviews are not warranted. Some are quite amusing, I remember one that gave a Hotel one star because they took the wrong bus and never even got there.

just been reading on Toolstation reviews on fencepaint, on one product nearly all the one star ones are because of non delivery, nothing to do with how the product performs. 

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There are some fascinating reviews on Tesco's website. One review of a chicken curry gives it one star as it's not suitable for vegetarians. 

More generally I find user reviews quite useful, the shills are generally fairly obvious imo. Amazon is generally good, with some reviewers clearly taking care to give quite long and insightful commentaries about the product.

Even the genuine reviews are biased as most folks won't bother to review an "OK" product but will more likely be induced to put fingertip to iPad for strongly felt opinions, be they positive or negative. 

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The ones that give me the hump are those reviews on Amazon which give low marks for Amazon's delivery/service or the packaging the item comes in, but as a result unfairly downrate the product ordered (be it a book, album etc). Also the way Amazon lump reviews together for a product that may have more than one edition/iteration, so that any valid differences to look out for between the versions are lost.

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6 minutes ago, Nifkin said:

Also the way Amazon lump reviews together for a product that may have more than one edition/iteration, so that any valid differences to look out for between the versions are lost.

On this last point it's usually possible to restrict reviews to a specific product version if you want to, although I don't think I've ever looked for this for books or music.

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4 minutes ago, MartinC said:

On this last point it's usually possible to restrict reviews to a specific product version if you want to, although I don't think I've ever looked for this for books or music.

That's my point, it isn't always possible to restrict reviews in such a way: Amazon simply aren't that thorough. Hardly surprising considering how much stuff they sell.

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2 minutes ago, Nifkin said:

That's my point, it isn't always possible to restrict reviews in such a way: Amazon simply aren't that thorough. Hardly surprising considering how much stuff they sell.

Just to check, you realise you have to click on the 'See all reviews' button before you get to the relevant filter options?

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1 minute ago, MartinC said:

Just to check, you realise you have to click on the 'See all reviews' button before you get to the relevant filter options?

Yep. When I next find an example of what I mean I'll post a link to it in this thread :^

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Consumer reviews are often helpful in establishing more detail about the item and how well it does its job.  How you can tell if reviews are from genuine BUYERS of the item or just reviews gathered from anyone with an opinion (often with no first-hand knowledge) is more difficult to judge. 

With Amazon, one hopes that most reviews are genuine, but the best approach is to ignore the 5 star ratings (where false positives go) and the 1 star ratings (where false negatives go and where peple who didn't bother to read the description post) and read the mid-range reviews.  These are likely to be far more honest and will highlight any shortcomings with the item.

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2 minutes ago, Nifkin said:

Yep. When I next find an example of what I mean I'll post a link to it in this thread :^

Don't worry I believe you. I was just checking you weren't missing the option.

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