Trustpilot targets fake reviews by property firms and other businesses

Reviews site Trustpilot has revealed that it is stepping up enforcement against property firms, and other businesses, who repeatedly break the rules by soliciting fake and misleading online reviews.

The reviews site plans to file litigation against businesses which continually abuse online reviews and seek to mislead consumers, often those who are in a vulnerable position.
The platform will issue legal proceedings against repeat offenders, seeking orders to block them from soliciting fake reviews and for recovery of damages. Trustpilot has committed to donating proceeds from litigation to organisations which work to protect consumers from misinformation online.

Trustpilot, which removed more than 2.2m fake reviews from its site last year, says that it has enhanced its automated fraud, enforcement and anomaly detection technologies, which safeguard the platform from misuse.

Trustpilot’s litigation strategy is the next phase in its commitment to protecting and promoting trust online – including tackling fake and misleading reviews.

Carolyn Jameson, chief trust officer at Trustpilot, said: “Consumers rely heavily on reviews to make more informed and confident purchasing decisions each and every day. Protecting and promoting trust is fundamental to Trustpilot’s mission.

“Whilst the vast majority of businesses use reviews constructively to help get them closer to their customers, we’re prepared to do everything within our power to clamp down on the small minority who do not behave as they should, and instead  use fake and misleading reviews to take advantage of consumers – often those consumers who are particularly vulnerable.”

The platform has also made strides to increase consumer protection by introducing and placing warning banners on the profiles of businesses which are subject to regulatory attention.

Tim Weller, Chair of the Truspilot’s Board, commented: “Trust underlies everything in today’s world. Without it, nothing works. In its mission to become a Universal Symbol of Trust, Truspilot’s reviews play a vital role in nurturing trust between consumers and businesses.

“Our Board wholeheartedly supports this new enforcement strategy, which has been developed through our Trust and Transparency Committee, including members of the Board. It’s the right thing to do, to protect consumers and the vast majority of businesses who continue to use Trustpilot in the right way.”

Man ordered to pay £25,000 in libel damages for negative Trustpilot review

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8 Comments

  1. htsnom79

    5 years too late, nobody cares.

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    1. Robert_May

      Trustpilot sacrificed their credibility to people who  gamed their system.  The same fate is in store for  the portals whose desperate greed for traffic leaves them once again turning a blind eye to #portaljuggling.

       

      Perhaps  Mr. Brookes-Johnson and Mr. Bryant are blissfully un-aware that some agents are gaming the portals in a deliberate breach of  CPR and BPR.

      It makes no odds to me but consumers desperate for somewhere to live will get frustrated at the same sold listings being churned and re-listed.  In the same way a few desperate agents  spoiled Trustpilot a few desperate agents will damage the UX of portals. Frustration will turn to exasperation and that’s not good for consumer stickiness.

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  2. htsnom79

    It’s deeper than that Robert IMHO, I can do a faeces job ( I understand how things work ) yet the client thinks I’m awesome, equally I can perform miracles and not only ( I understand how things work ) get little credit but abuse.

    Review sites are so subjective as to be worthless, because there is no context.

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    1. PeeBee

      Yes, htsnom79 – that is absolutely correct.  You are completely in the hands of people that are in, shall we say “heightented emotional states”  when it comes to online reviews.  Nowhere to hide, so as to speak – and very little you can do to defend yourself from the first blow… which is the one that inevitably does the damage.

      BUT… that does not get away from the reality that, like portal listings, some Agents ‘game’ the system with reviews.  I would suggest that more than you would think, do it.

      Having spent considerable time over the last five years or so working with various journalists and publications to expose the wrongs that have been allowed to take place on the likes of Trustpilot, I believe I can comment from a position of knowing what’s what – and who’s who – on the subject.

      In essence, using a review site is no different than having a “Thank You card” display on your office wall.  I’ve always had one.  Some of them are yonks old; some so recent the ink is still tacky… and let’s face it – some of those may well have been written by staff members.  But – never, ever, is there a complaint letter displayed with your many displayed ‘successes’.  Review sites are supposedly intended to show both the good, the bad and the indifferent, in order that people can make more of an informed choice.  But any supposed ‘good intention’ falls by the wayside when companies can add or subtract at will.

      ‘Gaming’ review sites isn’t a new idea – just an old trick used on a new(ish) platform.

      But of course legislation such as CPRs/BPRs 2008 made it illegal to misrepresent a product or service – which is effectively what gaming does.  So companies (and for the purposes of this post let’s bring it down to the relevant parties – Agents, portals and conveyancers) that game the system are breaking UK law – which means Trustpilot(UK) therefore have a legal obligation to act when companies abuse their site.

      EYE has carried many articles on the subject.  Here’s just a few worthy of a quick read to see the timeline

      July 2021 – propertyindustryeye.com/fake-estate-agency-reviews-could-be-made-illegal/

      February 2020 – propertyindustryeye.com/trustpilot-looking-into-reviews-of-estate-agents-at-large-as-it-condemns-new-claims-by-allagents/

      October 2019 – propertyindustryeye.com/review-of-the-week-or-not-the-lpe-did-not-post-his-own-glowing-review/

      September 2019 – propertyindustryeye.com/purplebricks-denies-claims-that-it-manipulates-trustpilot-reviews-to-get-positive-feedback/

      September 2017 – propertyindustryeye.com/there-is-no-evidence-of-purplebricks-faking-reviews-trustpilot/

      March 2016 – propertyindustryeye.com/trustpilot-takes-reviews-online-agent-site/

      Oh – and I had to include this link too…

      March 2019 – propertyindustryeye.com/quirk-says-online-reviews-criticised-in-newspaper-were-part-of-testing-before-new-business-goes-live/

      …’cos it would have been rude not to! ;o)

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  3. Estate Agent W1

    Absolute shambles of a company. There are many facebook sites where people have complained they have left legitimate reviews of companies (1 & 2 star reviews) that have been taken down and replace by 4 & 4 star reviews, sometimes repeated by the same person from a few months ago.

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  4. DefinitelyNotMW

    Oh how I laughed when I read this over my Krispies this morning.  These Aprils Fools’ jokes get earlier and earlier.  Anyway, I am off to check on that agent with the round-the-clock 5* reviews who get nothing but abuse from their customers on every other site…

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  5. MrManyUnits

    Always amazes me the builders reviews on trust a trader…..I just rarely find one in excess of 3 off 5, that oddly every builder seems to be 4.5 and above.

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