The NEW Review Scam: How Bad Companies Force Buyers to Leave 5-Stars

The NEW Review Scam: How Bad Companies Force Buyers to Leave 5-Stars

Posted by Big Brand on 14th Sep 2020

Previously we fully exposed the Amazon Prime 5-Star Review Scam but this new scam is even WORSE!!!  Get ready to have your mind blown...

Before you buy through an online company you likely glance at the reviews. When you see 20,000 5-star reviews on Trust Pilot you assume the business must be AMAZING, right? Today I am going to fully explain how this terrible scam works and how you can avoid it.

Here’s how the scam works:

The wholesaler creates an account with a review-collection website, such as TrustPilot (or similar). The wholesaler then creates a pop-up “Leave a Review!” form for their website… BUT, they have the review pop-up appear IMMEDIATELY AFTER A CUSTOMER HAS ORDERED. Yes, you are reading that correctly; the wholesaler is asking the buyer to leave them a review before they ever received their order. Of course the buyer is happy at this moment; they literally just ordered something they like!

In fact, many dishonest companies will make the pop-up appear as soon as the buyer clicks “Confirm Purchase”, and the pop-up will BLOCK THE BUYER FROM SEEING THEIR INVOICE (receipt) / Order Confirmation Page until a review is left!! So, this means that the buyer just clicks “5 stars” and usually types something like “Great so far!” just because they want to get the popup to go away so they can see their official order confirmation. This technique of “review scamming” is so terribly dishonest. A REAL, good, honest company will ask you to review your order AFTER it arrives, because they know you will be HAPPY. They have no reason to review-scam! Like most good companies, we send out little business cards WITH the merchandise that ask buyers to please consider leaving us a review. We do not even have to tell buyers to leave a good review because we stand behind our products, just like any normal company SHOULD. 

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR: If you see massive numbers of great reviews on Trust Pilot (or similar), scroll through them and look for reviews that say stuff like:

  • 5-Stars “I don’t know, I just ordered”
  • 5-Stars “Had to type something here” (buyer was forced to type something to access the Order Confirmation Page)
  • 5-Stars “Haven’t gotten it yet”
  • 5-Stars “Ordering was easy” (irrelevant to the merchandise)
  • 5-Stars “Nice website” (also totally irrelevant)
  • 5-Stars “Looks nice” (This most likely means the photos from the listing they just bought LOOK nice, but they haven’t gotten their merchandise yet)
  • 5-Stars “Excited to get it!” (because it hasn’t arrived yet)

If only 1 review says any of the quotes mentioned above, you can safely assume that 100% of the reviews for that company on that review website are all "review scammed".  And, if you keep sifting through alllll of the 5-stars you will eventually find a handful of people that took the time to come back and edit their review. They will say stuff like “Now that I actually GOT the merchandise, it’s awful!” or mention that it’s been 3 months and it still hasn’t arrived, etc.

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Avoid “review collection websites” if you want to read honest reviews. A couple really good places to view legitimate reviews:

Facebook - every review is left by an actual person. A person can only leave 1 review for a business. There is no way for the same person to leave a bunch of good reviews for the same business.

Google - Specifically, the “G.Page” site for the business. For example, our Google Page for Big Brand Wholesale is G.Page/BuyWholesale :

If you want to find a companies Google Page, simply search the web, using Chrome, for the company name and look on the side of the screen. If the company does not have a Google Page, that is a red flag.

When you read the Google Reviews, specifically look to see the NUMBER OF REVIEWS the person has left: 

As you can see from the image above, the first reviewer has left over 80 total reviews on Google so you can absolutely assume this review is 100% legitimate. You can even click on their profile and view all of the reviews they have left.

Additionally, if you see “Local Guide” in front of their name, this person actually works with Google and all of their information has been verified by Google. Local Guide reviews are the most brutally honest reviews you will ever find on the internet because these people are basically Google employees, in a sense. It is the “Local Guides” job to provide honest, accurate data to Google about businesses.

It is not common for the average person to leave tons of reviews on Google. From my personal experience, it seems like the average person leaves 2 to 10 total reviews, over a span of time. 1 total review isn’t uncommon, because everyone starts at 1 review, but still, pay less attention to these ratings. It’s absolutely possible that the review is completely real. It’s also absolutely possible that someone made an account just to pump up the overall star rating for a business.

Another thing you may notice on Google is that a tab may appear that has a keyword in it. For example, Google gave our company the keyword “Shipping” because a large quantity of our reviews include this word:

The company does not get to pick the words that appear - this is something done 100% by Google. So if you see a word that alarms you, such as “Scam”, “Broken”, “Disappointed” or “Slow”, click the tab and read those reviews!!!!!

If the company sells on eBay, you can also look at their eBay reviews.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ASKED TO LEAVE A REVIEW IMMEDIATELY UPON PURCHASE:  If you have to leave the review to access your invoice you need to make sure review readers understand that this company is review scamming.  If you choose to leave a great review so you can view your purchase you are helping the company dupe other potential buyers.  Instead, leave a 2.5 star or 3 star and explain you just ordered and when the merchandise arrives you will adjust your review.  

IN CLOSING; if you are looking for a quality company to buy from, look for reviews from real people.  Pay attention to:

  • The wording of the reviews.  If all of the reviews sound the same, they probably are written by the same person. 
  • Pay attention to the dates of the reviews.  It is not normal for a business to get 50 good reviews in two days then 0 positive reviews for the next 3 months.   
  • Look for reviews that say the reviewer was "forced" to leave the review OR they were compensated.  Some companies offer to ship the reviewer free stuff in exchange for a 5-Star.  This isn't cool at all and honest buyers tend to point this out.  If you look at Amazon reviews for stuff like Charcoal toothpaste or supplements you will likely see a LOT of buyer stating "They offered me a free bottle if I left a good review".  
  • If you see 20,000 reviews on TrustPilot but the same company only has 3 reviews on Facebook or Google, it is because they are review scamming. 
  • On Google, look for reviews left by "Local Guides".  These are 100% authentic, verified people. 
  • If you see Facebook reviews, look at the location of the reviewer.  If they are in the same state and city as the online company, chances are that they are friends / family / employees of the business.