Topic: General Chatter
Can We Trust Review Websites?
I decided six months ago to test one of these trade review & vetting websites that you see advertised on daytime television in between home renovation and rogue trader type programmes.
I had noticed a few other locksmiths using them and it appeared a good format in which to publish and share genuine feedback from your locksmith customers.
To join you need to jump through all the hoops of the vetting proceedure and meet with a local representative from the review company who checks you are legitamate. Once you have provided a few references from old locksmith jobs you a pretty much live and online with your own reviews webpage on their site.
It is simply a case of handing out your feedback forms at every job and convincing the customer to send one off or complete an online survey about your locksmith work to get it published online.
My initial thoughts were that this was an excellent platform upon which to advertise that I am a genuine local locksmith business, trustworthy and proud to share all my feedback with the world. I decided to give it a little longer before taking to my blog and writing a glowing review of this review service... and then we spotted something.
It appears that national advertisers had somehow jumped through all the same vetting proceedures and were also listed around the country. I thought this was unusual as the national locksmith company in question is notorious for overcharging and using freshly trained sub contractors to complete the work. Their reviews refelct this. The company name has changed three times since I have been trading, most likely to disassociate itself from the hundreds of negative reviews across the internet.
Were all these sub contractors individually vetted like us sole traders?
Did there qualifications displayed on the reviews website apply to each and every subby they sent out? Not a chance!
What worries me the most is that despite bad reviews, a notorious history of ripping off customers and failure to prove that each and every one of their sub contractors is qualified and insured, that these cowboys had managed to get prime placement on a reviews site who's moto is to Avoid Rogue Traders. I cannot help but think a little extra money has exchanged hands in order for the blind eye to be turned.
Should I be bothered? I mean the reviews site works for me ok and I do get some locksmith work from it. Unfortunately for me I have a conscience. I meet people that have had their last pennies taken from them by rogue companies each and every week. 'Locksmiths' showing up and ripping off the elderly and vulnerable, leaving them with a door in worse condition than before they started and fleeing with an extortionate call out fee when things go wrong, intimidating customers into coughing up ludicrous sums of money for the simplest of work.... It really is beggars belief that there are such tradesmen being recommended by authority review sites that are simply driven by the money.
This circumvention of vetting proceedures is rife on all review websites.
Any reviews platform where the company is paying to be there gives them the power to remove negative reviews, make false claims and continue ripping off customers that believe they are using respectable local locksmiths.
As a consumer you need to be aware of this fact and understand how these review websites work before inviting anyone into your home.
A good guide on spotting the difference between a genuine local trader and a national firm can be found by clicking the link: Spotting rogue locksmiths or on one of our old posts here