Fake Reviews Damage Us All

We have worked really hard to establish Kingsley Smythe as a trusted and reputable garden furniture company. Over the past decade or so we have grown to be the UKs largest importer of Teak Garden Furniture (measured by containers shipped.)

We accept competition, it’s a big marketspace and of course there are a lot of companies doing what we do. But we don’t fear competition – it keeps us on our toes and forces us to continue to strive to offer the best quality products and outstanding customer service.

But what really distresses us is when competitors buy in fake 5-star reviews or pay for 1 star reviews to be posted on rival sites.

We want to say here and now that Kingsley Smythe have never and will never pay for reviews.
All the reviews we post on our site are comments from genuine customers. Real people that we have sold and delivered furniture to.

BBC News highlights the growing issue of Fake Reviews

Yesterday (2nd August 2023) BBC News ran a feature on fake reviews highlighting just how widespread the practice is. You can view it here; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-66387391

Fake reviews are really damaging for us all – both retailers and consumers. Many people completely trust or are heavily influenced by what they read on review sites. But increasingly it is becoming obvious that so many of these reviews are simply made up. Shoppers don’t know what is true and what isn’t. Honest reputable retailers are seriously disadvantaged by flaky, unscrupulous businesses presenting themselves as highly rated business when the truth may be very different. Even the review sites themselves are going to suffer, as people will ultimately stop using them if they perceive that the reviews can’t be trusted.

So here’s a question!

Who thinks this review is genuine?
It’s certainly a genuine screenshot taken from a competitor of ours.

It’s hard to tell right?
But what about now?

These reviews were posted 1 day apart from each other.
What an amazing coincidence that was. I wonder if they know each other?

How can we tell if the reviews we are reading are genuine or completely made up?

One way is to look at what other sites the customer/reviewer has commented on. Read a few and see if they are similar, using the same words, formats etc.

It’s not going to be 100% obvious one way or the other – but you will probably get a gut-feeling as to whether this is a genuine review or someone being paid to place reviews.

Here are some things to look out for if you are trying to tell the difference.

Poor writing – Does the review itself make grammatical sense? If it has lots of spelling mistakes or formatting issues, it could be a clue that it’s fake. Often ‘reviewers’ are in other countries and use tools like Google translate to create their heartfelt reviews.

Generic details – Generic reviews that are overly positive or negative and don’t mention any specifics are immediately suspicious. If customers have had an exceptionally good or bad experience with a company, they’ll likely want to leave some details. For example, if the delivery and installation service was good, they might well name the people who delivered their furniture.

No negative reviews – Great swathes of 5-star reviews with a lack of negative reviews can be a big sign that what you’re reading may not be the real deal. 52% of consumers get suspicious if there are no negative reviews for the product or service they want. In fact, products with a rating of 4-4.9 stars are often seen as more credible than those with only glowing 5-star reviews.

High frequency – A sudden influx of outstanding 5 Star reviews should always raise alarm bells. Often unscrupulous retailers will buy in fake 5-star reviews to push bad reviews down the page and out of site.

Of course, the fake reviewers know all this stuff too – so they will work harder to mask their made-up comments. And now the thing that really concerns us here is the rapid emergence of AI which will undoubtedly be able to write much better fake reviews much faster and more cheaply.  If the review industry is going to have a future it must tackle this whole issue of fake reviews – and fast.

So what we are saying here is please be careful when you look at reviews and maybe consider a bit more carefully if what you are reading is the real thing – or not.

Finally, as a family run business, we work extremely hard, long hours to keep to our promises and avoid letting any customer down. We appreciate all fair reviews, positive and negative as this feedback helps us to develop and progress our business, highlighting what we are doing well and areas that we need to improve. After all, there is always something new to learn and somethings that can be improved.

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