Powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
realestatebusiness logo

Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Home of the REB Top 100 Agents
Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our newsletter

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.

Fake reviews a problem in industry

By Steven Cross
04 February 2014 | 1 minute read

After a nationwide crackdown on unsubstantiated online testimonials, real estate has been identified as a problem industry for fake reviews.

More than 40 businesses across Australia have received substantiation notices over the past six months, requiring proof that the glowing testimonials posted on businesses’ websites are genuine.

Fair Trading Queensland executive director Brian Bauer said false testimonials were a breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Advertisement
Advertisement

"Accurate customer reviews and testimonials play an important role in online consumers' decision making," Mr Bauer said.

"Consumers are entitled to expect reliable and independent information about a product or service."

ACL regulators have identified three sectors where fake reviews were common.

“The restaurant, real estate and alternative health care sectors are particularly prone to the publication of bogus reviews on a variety of services and products,” NSW minister for fair trading Stuart Ayres said.

In NSW, 28 notices have been issued resulting in 18 businesses substantiating their testimonials.

According to Mr Ayres, three warning letters were issued, two businesses were referred for investigation by Fair Trading, one business amended its website and another requested an extension.

Last year, Real Estate Business ran a straw poll asking agents if they believed online testimonials were a good marketing tool – with an overwhelming 73.5 per cent agreeing they were.

Industry trainer Josh Phegan believes testimonials are vital for agents, but suggests making the most of the online space.

“Testimonials can work and speak for you. I recommend shooting a testimonial video with previous happy customers willing to share their experience with you as an agent and describe how your sales process achieved their aims,” he said.

Video testimonials can help remove the doubt of questionable or fake reviews.

Consumers have been warned to be wary of reviews that are ‘too good to be true’ and have been given a list of warning signs to look for.

  •          Testimonials claiming the consumer was originally disinterested in a product but after use “saw the light” and now wishes to share their positive experience
  •          Negative reviews criticising an office, but then spruiking a competitor
  •          Publication of the same testimonial multiple times, or the publication of the same testimonial under a different customer alias
  •          Testimonials that read like a press release or an advertisement
  •          Reviews that repeatedly cite the entire name and model of the product
  •          Reviews that include exaggerated praise or empty adjectives
  •          Unqualified five-star reviews with no specifics on the product or service
  •          Websites where only a few reviews are provided, but of which all are positive

The news comes just days after an announced combined effort across a number of the state-based real estate institutes to introduce a new agents rating and review website.

Fake reviews a problem in industry
fake
lawyersweekly logo

Tags:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Listen to other installment of the Real Estate Business Podcast

 

Do you have an industry update?

top suburbs

12 month growth
Queenton
69.76%
Flying Fish Point
69.61%
Point Piper
69.17%
Glenelg South
69.02%
Pretty Beach
69.01%
Bar Beach
68.9%
Northampton
68.7%
Kembla Grange
66.91%
Boomerang Beach
66.67%
Gnarabup
66.67%
SEE AREA REPORTS ON SMART PROPERTY INVESTMENT WEBSITE
Subscribe to Newsletter

Ensure you never miss an issue of the Real Estate Business Bulletin.
Enter your email to receive the latest real estate advice and tools to help you sell.