Many online reviews for businesses and products from supposedly genuine customers posted on top review websites could be fake, having been sold and bought on the internet, according to an investigation.
An investigation by the BBC found that it was able to purchase a fake five-star recommendation on leading review website Trustpilot, which scores businesses based on customer reviews.
The investigation also found forums and social media pages where Amazon customers can be given full refunds for favourable product reviews. But both companies told the BBC they do not tolerate false reviews.
With the children of elderly customers increasingly looking at online reviews before choosing a mobility business to deal with, customer reviews are becoming ever more important to mobility retailers operating in a market which is sometimes tainted by unscrupulous traders.
In fact, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) estimates that customer reviews may influence around £23bn of overall consumer spending in the UK every year.
The investigation noted that according to research from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, around 75% of people use online review websites and half of them believe they have encountered fake reviews.
Truspilot, which allows anyone to post a review of a business, claims to be “the most trusted online review community on the market” and lists a large number of major mobility dealers. It insisted it has “a zero-tolerance policy towards any misuse”.
Speaking at Handicare’s recent dealer partner conference, Anthony Stears, who is an expert in improving customer service and sales results, said that mobility dealers should ask their customers to offer genuine testaments which can be posted on their website.