How can I tell a fake from a genuine review when shopping online?September 11, 2021
Q Over the last 18 months, I have been doing a lot more of my shopping online. In most cases, I rely on consumer reviews to help decide whether to buy or not. However, there have been a number of times when my purchases have turned out to be nothing like the reviews on the business’s website — which makes me think some of them might be fake. Is there a way to spot real from fake when it comes to reviews? Sally, Co Kerry
A You are right to take the time to read reviews before you buy. Fake reviews aren’t always easy to spot, and may appear to be written by genuine customers, but there are signs to keep an eye out for which can help you recognise one.
First: if something has an unusually high number of positive reviews compared to others, proceed with caution. Take time to see if there are other reviews of the company on other forums or websites. Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Second: watch out for products or services with only positive reviews or five-star ratings — products and services with authentic reviews are more likely to have a mix of feedback and ratings.
Third: do your research — if you come across a top-rated product or service with consumer reviews that seem to be genuine, test the information by doing some research — particularly if it is a big purchase. Look online at consumer forums and on social media for additional consumer reviews or feedback before you buy.
Fourth: examine how the reviews are written and consider if the language used seems genuine. If it reads more like a product promotion, proceed with caution.