Caution using online customer reviews to shop


CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP)– Online product reviews can help you choose what to buy or what to avoid. 22News is working for you with what you should pay attention to next time you use those reviews to shop.

Before you buy a new TV or book your next vacation, you can check out what others thought of it by reading customer reviews online.

“I like to see if it’s something people recommend or if it’s something that they say absolutely steer away from. So I do pay attention to it,” Laura Ewing, from Feeding Hills, told 22News.

But when you’re the one writing the review, be sure you post with caution. Some companies have default “non-disparagement clauses” which means you agreed to not criticize that company when you bought something from them. That’s how one couple in Salt Lake City, Utah ended up in court after they posted a negative review about a company’s customer service.

Consumer experts also advise that you read those customer reviews carefully.

Consumer Reports warns customers to be cautious of phony reviews as some companies have been known to pay people to post positive reviews of their products to make them look more appealing.

Exactly why skeptical consumer Christopher Stanislawski, from Northampton, says he sticks to taking product advice from friends and family, “Because it’s happened twice to me before where I had to send something back, so I don’t really read the reviews, because if I get and it’s good then it’s good.”

Consumer experts say some warning signs that the review is not from a real customer is they are extremely favorable with no downsides, there are several similar reviews posted in a short timeframe, or the review talks mostly about the product features, versus its reliability or overall value.

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