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Revealed: how TrustPilot’s review verification system really works

Customer complaint about Purplebricks shines a light on how the world of online reviews operates.

Nigel Lewis

Details of how TrustPilot enables estate agents to verify and manage customer reviews have been revealed follow a complaint about Purplebricks from one of its customers.

Brighton-based lifestyle blogger Laura Tells (pictured, left) posted a low rating of Purplebricks on Trustpilot recently after receiving zero viewings for her flat.

Soon after posting her review Laura was contacted by TrustPilot to say that it had been taken down because “Purplebricks has reported the review because they don’t believe you’ve had a genuine buying or service experience”.

Laura was then told that to have her review put live again she’d have to provide her proof of service with Purplebricks.

A protracted debate ensued on Twitter between Laura and Trustpilot, during which several traditional agents weighed in to demand the review site clarify how their ratings management process works, but largely to no avail.

Company guidelines

The Negotiator has contacted TrustPilot for a response. It says that, following the Twitter exchange, it has contacted Purplebricks to “clarify” its usage of the term ‘verified’ and to “make sure they comply with our company guidelines,” says spokesman Alexander Tolstrup.

“Companies should not refer to unverified Trustpilot reviews as verified even if the company have done their own form of validation.”

All reviews on Trustpilot are marked as “verified order” when they are reviews that a company has invited its customer to place, while unsolicited reviews like Laura’s must be supported by documentation.

“Reviews on a business profile on the Trustpilot platform will in most cases consist of a combination of verified and unverified reviews. This is also the case for Purplebricks,” the spokesman says.

“We will continue to investigate the matter. If businesses do not comply with our company guidelines we will take appropriate action as described in our guidelines.”

The Negotiator also contacted Purplebricks for a response. Its spokesman said: “Purplebricks are very proud of our reviews and welcome feedback from our customers.

“As a result we are leading the way in establishing that those who give reviews are genuine customers, whatever rating is provided. If our team cannot immediately identify the customer from the review, whatever the rating, we report it to Trustpilot so they can ask the reviewer for more information.

“Our process of validating all reviews is honest and consistent irrespective of the star rating we receive and ensures that all reviews are a fair reflection of those who have been customers of Purplebricks.  We would welcome more widely the same level of effort for transparency.”

 

June 21, 2017

2 comments

  1. Surely, property professionals know that there is a particular approach and strategy required to a) ensure you maximise a property’s value and b) ensure the sale is safely and skilfully guided to completion.
    As such, I simply don’t understand why any agent, and especially a so called “Guild for Professionals” would wish to entertain and endorse an alternative proposition that is simply incapable of achieving the best outcome for its clients.
    The whole “do it your self” or “we do it for you” proposition is crazy. Can you imagine a plastic surgeon saying he’ll heavily discount his cost provided your happy to do the operation yourself using his resources. You may not end up with exactly the nose you wanted but think about the money you’ll save.

  2. Manipulation. Pure and simple.
    They can fool some of the people, some of the time.

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