Researching a business

September 7, 2022

Researching a business is an important part of shopping – especially if you are spending a large sum of money. These are our top tips for how to research a business before you buy.

Searching for reviews

A good first step is to search online for the business name plus the word “review”. There are many review sites, but try to find one with a high number of reviews. This can reduce the chances of the rating being affected by fake reviews.

Top Tip

There are many ways to help spot a fake review. Learn more about fake reviews.

Checking reviews

Check when the reviews were posted. The seller may have a large amount of positive reviews, but are any of them recent? Check what the more recent reviews say. What percentage are positive versus negative? If they are negative how serious were the issues?

Top Tip

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

How do they respond to reviews?

Check for responses by the business to negative reviews – are there any? If yes, is the business responding in a reasonable way? This can give a good insight into how the business operates and how they treat their customers.

Check forums and social media

Don’t rely on only one review site. Look at consumer forums and on social media for extra reviews or feedback before you buy. Another idea is to search online for the business’ name and the word “scam”. This may show if the business is legitimate or not.

If a deal seems too good to be true then it probably is. It’s always a good idea to carry out some research when using a business you are not familiar with, even if you have used them in the past or if somebody you know had a good experience. The most important thing is to protect yourself – ensure you are as well informed as possible before buying.

Read more information on your consumer rights when shopping online.

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