Does Ebuyer suppress unfavourable product reviews?

  PamelaG 23:35 17 Sep 11
Locked

My attempt to post a cautionary comment regarding the Foehn & Hirsch Portable WiFi Internet Radio raises doubts about the reliability/integrity of customer reviews and comments appearing on Ebuyer's product web pages.

When, after several days, my unfavourable comment regarding the F&H radio hadn't appeared, and noting that nearly every review on the product page is strongly positive, I wrote customer service enquiring whether it is Ebuyer's policy to screen out unfavourable comments/reviews. I received a prompt reply asking me for more identifying information so that my comment could be located. After (I'm guessing) the comment was found and read, I was told that customer submissions are reviewed for 'derogatory language or comments that could offend a third party company.' The review process, the message said, takes 4-6 weeks.

To test this assertion, I submitted a favourable review on another product. Within a day it had posted to the product's web page.

I wrote again to customer service to enquire about this apparent discrepancy. The reply explained that different web pages are managed by different employees and that the time required for review varies according to each manager's work load.

The message from Ebuyer stating the review policy--to screen for 'derogatory language' and offence to third party companies--concludes 'if the review does not contain these it should be posted without issue'. My comment is polite. It simply reports my efforts to make the radio work. Foehn & Hirsch [I]is[/I] Ebuyer--there is no third party company involved. So I waited out the six weeks and then some.

When my comment still hadn't posted I wrote again. I was asked to provide a copy, which I did. Ten days later, I have heard nothing more, and my comment has not yet made an appearance.

  birdface 09:13 18 Sep 11

PamelaG

I have to agree with you bad comments on goods should also be posted.

The FE would probably be able to give you advice on this but to me disappointed that a well know company like E-buyer would do such a thing.

  bremner 11:41 18 Sep 11

Having spent sometime looking at Ebuyer reviews I can see why you have expressed concern. A very high percentage of all product reviews and an even higher percentage of Ebuyer's own products only have 5 star reviews and nothing under 3 stars.

To have any credibility it must be like Amazon's reviews.

  Forum Editor 12:32 18 Sep 11

"The FE would probably be able to give you advice on this"

The only advice I can offer is that of course it's up to Ebuyer to make its own rules when it comes to which reviews are published.

It's also up to consumers when it comes to drawing their own conclusions about a supplier's readiness to publish adverse comments about a product. It seems to me that as long as there is no question of defamation or unacceptable language there's no real reason for a consumer comment not to appear, provided other people realise that an individual consumer experience is simply that - the personal view of one person.

  PamelaG 12:38 18 Sep 11

Hypothetical question for the FE:

If a company were to make it a rule to post only favourable product comments while suppressing unfavourable ones, and the company is asked by a customer whether whether this is, indeed, their policy, should they deny or admit it?

  spuds 16:05 18 Sep 11

If you put 'amando sanchez' in the PCA search box, you should find 6 results. One of those results dates back some time ago, when the same question was raised about Ebuyer product customer reviews. Might possibly be worth having a look there?.

Amando Sanchez was Ebuyer's Operations director, he is now the Managing Director.

Regarding deny or admit, then that would be up to the company. If its wrong advertising, then perhaps a look at the ASA website http://www.asa.org.uk might help?.

  Forum Editor 23:05 18 Sep 11

"Hypothetical question for the FE"

If an online seller has a section on its website where customers can review products, one could assume that it wants customers to do just that - on the understanding that individual negative reviews are purely the reactions of a single individual, and may not be shared by the majority of purchasers of the same product.

If the seller decides to withhold bad reviews it has a right to do so, and isn't obliged to explain why. You have to understand that customer reviews are not 'advertising' in the proper sense of the word, so there's no question of misleading people. Some people may consider it improper to withhold customer reviews, but that's something they must live with. In the same way, the seller concerned must live with any consequences of its actions.

It's worth pointing out that one person's theory doesn't make a fact unless there's supporting evidence, and one test post by one person isn't enough to substantiate a theory of there being a policy.

  onionskin 23:35 18 Sep 11

Good question and informative answers.

Mr. A.B. Scunthorpe.

  morddwyd 07:39 19 Sep 11

This is little more that the than the newspaper review headlines above theatre canopies in the West End, "Fantastic-Daily Mail" "Awesome - Express" and the like.

  interzone55 11:27 19 Sep 11

I'm always a little sceptical about online reviews.

This summer we stayed in a lovely B&B in Shanklin in the Isle of Wight. On Tripadvisor the B&B had a number of glowing reviews, and two poor ones, one complaining about the bedrooms & one complaining about the chef.

We spoke to the owner of the guest house and she said she'd been trying for ages to get those reviews removed she could find no record of guests with the names on the site and it was fairly obvious they were both posted by another guest house.

Trip Advisor has now removed the banner "reviews you can trust" from their website after being investigated by the ASA, and this seems to me typical of user generated content on websites, it's too easy for the unscrupulous to take advantage, and too difficult for the people affected to get redress.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/8735669/TripAdvisor-investigated-by-Advertising-Standards-Authority-after-complaints.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/8760616/TripAdvisor-removes-reviews-you-can-trust-slogan-from-website.html

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