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Is that review a fake?
From time to time we share warnings about potential scams and frauds in order to help to boost awareness. Now, with the shopping discount season upon us there is another aspect to online buying that we need to be aware of: fake reviews.
At the beginning of September, the Government launched a consultation which, amongst other matters, aims to stamp down on fake reviews. The impact assessment which followed the consultation revealed that “11% to 15% of reviews on popular e-commerce platforms are fake.” This, the research suggests, can cost UK consumers up to £312million per year. However, the true figure could be higher than that when the effect of overinflated star ratings is taken into account.
Online reviews from genuine customers can be extremely helpful. And it is the case that the major platforms are already taking steps to review and remove suspect content. But there is inevitably a time lag between reviews being posted and fake ones being taken down and some will slip through the net. With that in mind, the best advice is to take some time to do your homework before relying on the reviews. Which? has a handy guide with a variety of hints from taking time to reading the reviews to spotting potential fake review patterns such as clusters of reviews using the same words or posted on the same dates.