With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is hard to find time to go shopping. I spent this past weekend with my daughter as we walked through the stores looking for the right gift. My daughter was on a mission. With her list of family and presents already purchased, she spent the time keeping me focused on the task at hand. While I was exhausted when done, I appreciated her passion for shopping and assisting me. If not for her, I would be online the week of Christmas, finding the right company to get my gifts to family on time.
As my life has gotten busier, I rely on Amazon and other shippers geared toward us, last-minute shoppers. Going through the website, I’ll type in a product and view item, price, and more critical reviews. After all, hundreds of people have purchased the product and had a great experience. Right? The answer to the question above depends on whether the evaluations are real or fake.
When reading reviews on the product, the assumption is the person writing about the transaction purchased the product and is happy with the item. However, some reviews are written in exchange for free products or money. This type of feedback is termed incentivized reviews and is illegal unless adequately disclosed. Amazon banned exchanging free products in return for a positive review on its platform. But for the companies trying to push product, being listed first in searches is imperative. Many of these companies have formed private facebook groups to solicit consumers to give five-star reviews in return for merchandise and more. While the businesses know the activity is illegal, it doesn’t stop them.
In 2015, Amazon started courting Chinese sellers, and what soon followed was an increase in fake postings. With Amazon trying to stay ahead of fake reviews and businesses trying to get as many stars as possible, the consumer is caught in the middle. Customers look for five-star ratings as confirmation a seller is dependable and provides quality products. According to ReviewMeta, 11.3% of Amazon reviews are untrustworthy. Amazon’s policy for posting feedback is on their website; however sellers still find ways to manipulate and pump up their listings.
I have to ask myself, should I rely entirely on strangers when making any purchase? Am I only looking for five-stars to tell me about a company? When deciding to purchase an item, you need to trust the seller. Where do you look for trust?
For me, my daughter is someone I trust to help me find the right gift and finding legitimate stores. If you don’t have a personal shopper you can trust, you need to research the seller. To find a trustworthy company, use Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. BBB accreditation requires an extensive search to verify the business is honest and exceeding standards.