Are Consumer Reviews Reliable?

As a consumer, there is a good chance that when you are making a decision about where to spend your money or your time, you turn to consumer reviews. In fact, sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon reviews, and more are typically considered trusted sources of information. Many of us look for those star ratings before a purchase. But are consumer reviews really reliable?

Consumer Reports May Not Be as Trustworthy as You’d Like to Think

 It would be great to think that consumer reviews on sites that we know and love are both accurate and genuine, but multiple examples of fake or embellished consumer reviews suggest the contrary could be true.

For example, as early as half a decade ago, TIME Magazine published an article exposing a number of fake reviews, including a book review scam that was resulting in its manager–who was writing and paying others for embellished reviews–pulling in more than $28,000 per month.

And the scams keep on coming – an article in The Atlantic reports that in 2013, the New York Attorney General’s office ordered 19 companies to pay more than $350,000 in fines for fake endorsements, and in October 2015, Amazon filed lawsuits against more than 1,000 people for writing fake reviews (and getting paid for doing so).  Therefore, keep in the mind that the sheer volume of positive reviews does not necessarily indicate that the product or location is truly worthy of a good review.

And that is not even the worst of it. In more recent news, TripAdvisor users have accused the site of deleting their reviews that provided accounts of assault and rape. The motive–or at least something to note–may have something to do with the fact that TripAdvisor does receive advertising revenue and commissions from the  very hotels about which the reviews were written and subsequently deleted.

A celebrity endorsement does not automatically equate to a good review of a product. Remember that the spokesperson is most likely being compensated to provide this favorable review. Also using the exact same product as the spokesperson does not guarantee that you will experience the same results.

Do Plenty of Research

Since it can be hard to know which reviews are legitimate and which are not, you should compare information on a variety of sites first. is also a great site for learning more about products (although the site does not review industries such as airlines or hotels). Also, what is good for one person may not necessarily be appropriate for another individual. This is true for all products including health supplements, vitamins, workout gear, fitness equipment, etc.

At the law offices of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, we care about consumer rights. If you think that your consumer rights have been breached, call us today for a free case evaluation. We’ll work hard for you. One of our experienced attorneys will discuss your legal options with you. The consultation is confidential and there is no obligation. We do not charge any upfront legal fees and only recover fees if we win your case.