TheCellShop.net Caught Bribing Customers To Submit "Perfect" Reviews

If you use resellerratings.com to check out companies before doing business with them, don’t take any perfect ratings for TheCellShop.net as legitimate. A reader forwarded us the following email that shows they bribe their customers to leave them perfect ratings in exchange for a $5 coupon.

I’ve done a little business with this company in the past, thecellshop.net, ordering replacement parts for my Blackberry.  Overall, their customer service is pretty good, even though they messed up an order of mine, they made it right in the end without any trouble.  But this type of thing seems very dishonest – offering money for a perfect review!  They even tell you how to cheat the system so that your order number seems correct to the ratings website.

  From: service@thecellshop.net
Date: Thu, May 1, 2008 at 1:06 PM
Subject: We will give you $5 for submitting a review
To: XXXXXXX@gmail.com
 
Dear Valued Customer,
 
If you have purchased from us before and feel we did a good job, please use the link below and rate us 10/10 and we will give you $5.00 in credit to use for anything on our website.
 
Give us a review here:
 
http://www.resellerratings.com/store/TheCellShop_net
 
It will ask you for an invoice #, it will start with a 4 and is 7 digits long.  If you do not have your invoice # anymore you can enter in 7 random digits with a 4 as the first digit.
 
After you write the review, please email me at danny@thecellshop.net so I can give you the $5.00 coupon.
 
Coupon offer: $5.00 off your sub-total.  Must order directly from http://www.thecellshop.net
 
Thanks for shopping with TheCellShop.net!
 
danny@thecellshop.net

Danny, are you saying that it’s possible to post a fake review for your company on resellerratings.com with a made-up invoice number? Are you saying any random 7-digit string that begins with a “4″ will be accepted? Are you saying it’s okay to lie about your company on the site? Danny, this is the Internet—are you insane?
 
(Photo: Getty Images)

Comments

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  1. ’10′ does not mean ‘GOOD’

  2. humphrmi says:

    I’m really getting P.O.’d about these companies who will accept no less than “perfect” ratings in return for average service. I’ve seen e-mails demanding above-average and perfect ratings, even though all the company did is ship me a product.

    If they want a perfect rating, they’d better do a lot more than take my money and ship me product. For instance, it’d better be the absolute lowest fricking price on the planet. For a perfect rating, I expect it to be delivered into my waiting hands, at my convenience, in a perfectly secured yet easy-to-open box.

    Sounds tough? Sure, but so is a perfect rating.

  3. Last time I bought a new car, there was a lot of whoring going on for ratings. They didn’t go as far as bribery, but it did get mentioned several times by the greasy goombas (from central casting, not my prejudices, so put the race card away) who worked there. At times, I thought I was an extra on an episode of The Sopranos.

    I had thought about being brutally honest (finance manager shakedowns, relentless selling of the usual vaporware like paint sealant, etc.) when the survey sheet came in the mail, but I just threw it in the shredder.

    Come to think about it, I could have just gone to the Toyota dealer next door had I known those people were friendly Mom and Pop types who try to be the opposite of the shark tank (complete with frickin’ laser beams on their heads) Honda dealership where I bought my car.

  4. SonicMan says:

    Hey, We should all go onto that site amd make up ratings….. If all it takes is the number 4 in the order…

    This kind of thing they are doing is sleazy.

  5. Skrizzy says:

    @SonicMan: I tried that, you have to register with the resellerrattings site to do so.

  6. witeowl says:

    @SonicMan: You’ve already been beaten to the punch. At least three people have posted a copy of the spam e-mail while giving poor ratings.

  7. Snarkysnake says:

    @Steaming Pile:

    Ah Ha … You have found truth and enlightenment grasshopper…

    The fact is, those surveys are literally worth more than their weight in gold to Honda, Toyota and to a lesser extent Nissan dealers. (Don’t know about Subaru,Suzuki and the Korean brands). Frequently they will offer you a free tank of gas to bring that survey to the dealer instead of sending it back to the manufacturer. Red flag. (When is the last time a car dealer gave you anything free?)They need those good ratings to get the allocation of cars that they need to make a profit. The manufacturer will give them fewer than the year before or the less desirable models,colors ,option packages etc. ,if those surveys come back with sad tales. It’s one of the few checks and balances that customers have over asswipe dealers. Use it. Fill it out honestly. Then send it back to the manufacturer only.

  8. moosetoga says:

    @Snarkysnake: It’s the same with the Koreans; we bought a Hyundai Sonata last year and they must have mentioned the survey 10 times during the two hours we were there making the purchase, taking a test drive, etc.

  9. Juggernaut says:

    @Snarkysnake:
    The following part of your response applies to domestic brand dealers also “They need those good ratings to get the allocation of cars that they need to make a profit. The manufacturer will give them fewer than the year before or the less desirable models,colors ,option packages etc. ,if those surveys come back with sad tales. It’s one of the few checks and balances that customers have over asswipe dealers. Use it. Fill it out honestly. Then send it back to the manufacturer only.”

  10. Nighthawke says:

    Post the fraudulent attempt in RSR’s forums and i’ll bet a weeks’ wages that it’ll be locked before days end.

  11. GearheadGeek says:

    @Snarkysnake: I love my Subaru, but I had a problem with the pre-delivery inspection because they didn’t bother to check the tire pressure. All 4 tires had different pressures, all less than recommended, the rear tires were less than 20 psi. Subaru’s AWD with the turbo engine and low tire pressure in the back combine to make the car RIDICULOUSLY tail-happy. We’re talking lurid sideways powerslide as part of a quick u-turn tail-happy. I was about to take the car back thinking something was seriously wrong (I’d test-driven another car, the one I bought was on the showroom floor, the test-drive car didn’t behave that way.) I checked the pressure, took another drive after, knew what the problem was… they changed my oil for a year after I came to the dealership with the survey to discuss that little problem with them.

  12. revmatty says:

    @Snarkysnake: Saturn does it too.

  13. humphrmi says:

    @revmatty: So does Chrysler / Dodge.

  14. Coles_Law says:

    It takes up to two days for reviews to post. I’ll have to make a mental note to check on Wednesday to see how low their rating went.

  15. unklegwar says:

    And it one company does it, you can bet that tons of others do too.

  16. Shadowman615 says:

    It looks like they posted a retraction at the review site:

    “We did not read resellerratings.com user policy clearly enough. We have since learned that what we did is a violation of their policy as we can only offer an incentive to leave a review, not just a positive one. If anybody leaves a review, good or bad please email me for a discount code.
    -Danny”

  17. netbuzz says:

    “Danny” from TheCellShop tells me it was a simple “miswording” of an e-mail. His statement, such as it is, can be read on my blog:
    [www.networkworld.com]

  18. ogremustcrush says:

    Following their advice on putting in random numbers for the invoice, I just left them this review (and an accompanying negative score).

    I bought one of their cell phone batteries after the one that came with my phone stopped working. The new battery worked great the first two weeks I had it, but one day I noticed a trail of smoke coming from my pocket and quite a bit of heat all of the sudden. I threw my phone out of my pocket, and the battery caught fire almost immediately. It completely destroyed my $400 phone.

    I tried to contact the cell shop to replace my phone with a new one, but they don’t answer their phones. And when I email them I just get canned responses. I sure am not going to buy from them again, and I recommend that nobody else does as well.

  19. StevenJohn says:

    @unklegwar:

    And have been doing it for years.

    Ever hear the phrase “Brooklyn Camera”?

  20. humphrmi says:

    @Shadowman615: @netbuzz: I’m sure they only retracted because they got busted.

    Which earns the Consumerist a big “Way to Go!” for helping bust them.

    Keepin’ them honest.

  21. LibertyReign says:

    This is disgusting. I could rant for an hour on the amount of bile this post produced because of the deceit and crookedness, but instead I will call attention to the fact that this type of thing is bad for business.

    What ever happened to ACTUALLY providing CUSTOMER SERVICE???

    I’ll tell you what happened. The American consumer is what happened. We used to have standards. We used to stand up for ourselves. Now we take whatever is shoveled into our gullet, ESPECIALLY if it’s on TV 3 times during American Idol.

    Back in the day a company would give you a $5 coupon for being HONEST on a survey no matter what you said at an attempt to get to the TRUTH, so they may actually improve their service and EARN MORE MONEY.

    I blame us for this type of behavior. Companies only do what the customer will let them get away with.

  22. Breach says:

    @netbuzz “Danny” from TheCellShop tells me it was a simple “miswording” of an e-mail. His statement, such as it is, can be read on my blog:

    I love the “I mis-spoke” excuse

  23. Tsire Musnoc says:

    I’m all for honesty in public reviews, but ResellerRatings.com also needs to be called out for what they are: money-grubbing extortionists.

    Want proof? Merchants now have to pay $1,500 per MONTH (minimum, large companies have to pay much more as of the 2011 huge price increase) just to be able to respond to negative “reviews”, which are often posted by competitors or dishonest customers trying to blackmail merchants for freebies. If you have ever worked in customer service, you well know that a small percentage of your customers are just plain insane, are outright thieves, or refuse to take responsibility for their ordering mistakes. And these folks are the first to post reviews on sites such as Reseller Ratings.

    If merchants were allowed to respond without paying an outrageous “merchant fee” I would wholeheartedly support ResellerRatings.com. But they make plenty of money with all of their affiliate advertising…their merchant extortion business model is way over the line.

    Perfect example:
    http://www.ripoffreport.com/internet-fraud/resellerratings-com/resellerratings-com-all-enthus-435g2.htm