FAQ Friday: Online shopping & consumer reviews – how can I spot real from fake?

October 29, 2021

Each month, we share the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) from the hundreds of consumers who contact us. For this FAQ Friday, we take a look at consumer reviews when shopping online and how to spot a real consumer review from a potentially fake one.

Q: One thing that I struggle with when shopping online is trying to figure out the quality of the products. I generally rely on the consumer reviews to help decide whether to buy or not. However, on a number of occasions, my purchases have turned out to be nothing like the reviews on the business’s website, which makes me think that some of these reviews might be fake. Is there a way to spot real from fake when it comes to consumer reviews?

You are right to take the time to read reviews before you buy. Fake reviews aren’t always easy to spot, and may appear to be written by genuine customers, but there are some signs you can keep an eye out for:

1. If it looks too good to be true…

If something has an unusually high number of positive reviews compared to others, you may want to proceed with caution. Take time to see if there are other reviews of the item or company on other forums or websites. And remember if it looks too good to be true, more often than not, it usually is!

2. Watch out for exclusively five-star reviews

Products and services with authentic reviews are more likely to have a mix of feedback and ratings. So watch out for products or services with only positive reviews or five-star ratings!

3. Do your research

If you come across a top rated product or service with consumer reviews that seem to be genuine (particularly if it is a big purchase), test the information by doing some research. Look at consumer forums and on social media for additional consumer reviews or feedback before you buy.

4. Product preview or promotion?

Take time to read how the reviews are written and consider if the language used seems genuine. If it reads more like a product promotion or advertisement, proceed with caution!

5. Check the reviewers’ past posts

Some websites allow you to view other reviews posted by individual consumer accounts. Check for similar wording or language or consistently high ratings given to different products or services. This could be a sign that the review is fake.

Click here for more information on your consumer rights when shopping online.

Connect with us on social media for the latest updates:

Facebook: /CCPC.ie

Twitter: @CCPCIreland

Return to News

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?