But what happens if the reviews are false, or the company doesn’t actually publish all reviews?
Screwfix in the UK are an example of an excellent supplier who don’t appear to overly sensor their reviews. Yes, they tend to show the more favourable reviews first, but all the reviews are there if you choose to scroll through them and I personally think this works in their favour.
I was looking for a table saw to do a couple of light weight jobs. I could have opted for the cheapest one that was available but after reading the reviews decided that I would spend a few extra pounds on a slightly better model. Win-win… I get a saw that many people seem to feel is adequate for the job, and Screwfix make a bit more money out of me. I’m also a happy buyer now and will return next time I need something. I feel I can trust them.
Unfortunately not all companies are as enlightened, and I’ve now been bitten twice by companies possibly withholding bad reviews, and I know they withhold reviews as they have withheld ones that I’ve written.
I recently bought a wood working lathe. I decided on the model based on the three glowing reviews published about how easy it was to change the spindle speed, and how powerful the motor was. What they didn’t mention was the fact that you needed a socket set to loosen four bolts to change the belt position (changing spindle speed is a common requirement with wood working), and the motor was severely underrated. Also the main components were cheap cast pig iron, poorly finished so didn’t move well.
Needless to say, my less than glowing review didn’t make the list.
I also came foul of this with one of my electronics suppliers when I purchased a cheap-ish RF generator. It boasted a fine adjustment frequency control and ease of range selection. However fine adjustment was impossible as the slightest touch of the cheap single-turn potentiometer caused massive frequency change, and the six band range selector switch, which is actually a twelve way rotary switch without any stops, causes very strange behaviour if one of the unallocated six positions is selected. Apparently this reputable supplier didn’t like these comments either and refused to publish the review.
Not publishing poor reviews is a very silly mistake in my opinion. If I read poor reviews I tend to move up to a more expensive models; I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for and don’t mind spending a bit extra if it’s going to be decent quality. However, for these suppliers they have damaged their reputation with me. Bottom line… I don’t trust them to tell the whole truth any more.
So, the reseller of the lathe now has their never ending train of marketing Emails automatically consigned to my junk folder, and I refuse to trust my electronics supplier when it comes to expensive items of test equipment.
Read the reviews and then checkout other comparable products being offered by the same supplier. If nobody is ever saying anything bad especially on the cheaper offerings, I’d be suspicious.
Also, check out the reviews for the same product from other suppliers if possible.