What’s the purpose of hotel reviews on Expedia.com? Based on the recent experiences of two customers who wrote to Consumerist this week, it’s not to provide a balanced overview of customers’ experiences. Two unrelated readers stayed in different hotel chains in different cities, had bad experiences, and wanted to warn other travelers. Expedia posted neither of their reviews. Why not? [More]
Pushing the “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” mentality to the extreme, an online retailer allegedly stalked and threatened customers in order to boost his search engine visibility. The seller reportedly went to such extremes that federal authorities stepped in and arrested him on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, making interstate threats and cyberstalking. [More]
Last week we showed you a few ways to spot fake online reviews and asked you to submit yours. We got some really great stuff! Here’s the tips and techniques savvy Consumerist readers use to ferret out the shills, sockpuppets and charlatans when cruising online reviews of products and services. Get yer learn on! [More]
Here are some warning signs that an online review is being left by a shill, or shills: [More]
When will we see an airline passenger bill of rights? Why aren’t there 5-star and 2-star airlines? How do you deal with hotels filling review sites with fake testimonials? These questions came up in a conversation about the travel industry I had the other night. Here’s some possible answers:
After receiving two defective “new” headsets and a third one that was missing packaging materials, Lance left EveryDayDeals neutral feedback. EverydayDeals then offered to give Lance a partial refund, but only if he withdrew his non-thumbs-up feedback. Lance’s email, and EveryDayDeals bribe note, inside…
“MyGearStore,” a seller on Amazon, tried to bribe reader Michael into remove less-than-stellar feedback. Michael writes, “There were some problems with the order, and I gave them neutral feedback (which was pretty generous).” They said they would give him a partial refund if he took down his feedback. He complained to Amazon, who didn’t reply except with a “thanks for emailing us” and to MyGearStore, who didn’t respond. One tool consumers use to evaluate the slew of online retailers out there is by looking through feedback left by other customers. If stores are trying to pay off customers to get rid of negative feedback, one, they’re stupid because they’re going to get caught. Two, it means you should be suspicious if the feedback for one store, product, or seller is overwhelmingly positive. Critical reading, it’s a good ability to have. The original bribe note sent by MyGearStore, inside..
Products don’t advertise their drawbacks leaving shoppers to rely on online reviews as one of the only ways to determine a product’s true worth. Salon argues in an article heavy on fluff and light on content that reviews are just a meaningless muddle of questionable opinions. We disagree, but the article does raise one good question: how do you judge the value online reviews?