When I research something I want to buy, I meticulously read the reviews. The brilliance of the internet gives us the chance to have a virtual huddle with people who have tried the product or service. Their reviews give us insider info on the brands we’re interested in BEFORE we pull the trigger. I’m going to explain why I find reviews helpful and some of the things I look for when I go through them.   

Why are reviews worth checking?

When I look at reviews, I find them to be valuable for these reasons:

They’re informative: Reviews make space for a more informed and connected consumer base.

They offer clarity: Reading reviews takes the mystery out of trying a new brand or service.

They tend to be authentic: You can find unbiased insights from other purchasers instead of salespeople.

You get a sense of the brand’s personality and integrity: When a product or service has reviews available on their website, you can start to get a sense of how the company responds to negative feedback and how much they truly stand behind their brand promise.

What to look for

If you decide to dive into some reviews, here are some things to think about:

1. Where are the reviews coming from?
Try to look for reviews that come from a reputable site you trust. I like to think that when the brand posts public reviews of their products on their website, it’s a good sign. It signals to me that they are transparent and stand behind their quality.

2. Have you diversified your sources of information?
I like to dig around a little. It’s helpful to check multiple websites or forums to gather as much info as possible. You may consider looking at Facebook and Instagram to find out what people are saying about the brand on social media.

3. How much can I trust this review?

Is the review from a verified buyer? Sometimes websites will post a little check-mark next to the name of a purchaser to indicate the person actually bought the goods or service. This can be useful to determine how credible the review is.

Are they exaggerating? Sometimes people can be unfair in reviews. Use your judgment and take individual reviews with a pinch of salt.

Are you detecting bias? Fake reviews are not uncommon. We’ve written some tips for spotting a fake review.

4. Is there a theme emerging?
A positive or negative theme will give you a solid sense of how others feel about the business or product. One roque negative review isn’t worth much in my opinion, but if I see a theme where multiple people are saying the same thing, the issue appears to be more valid.

5. What is the business’s response to negative reviews?
Responses to negativity will shed light on how they work to resolve consumer issues. Are they offering solutions? Are they helpful?

Did we miss something? Share your tips and tricks for reading reviews in the comments section.

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About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.