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Unpopular opinion: It’s time to stop leaving fake negative reviews when someone’s bad experience goes “viral”

By August 24, 2017 No Comments

I’m not sure people will agree with me, but I see this happen all the time:

Someone writes a post about a crappy experience they had at a dealer, parts shop, mechanic, whatever. Maybe they got “pretty-womaned” and didn’t get a test drive because they didn’t look rich, or someone was just a jerk to them or tried to rip them off. Then the post gets a ton of attention, and 100 people leave the place a 1 star review on Facebook, Trip Advisor, Xanga, etc. Sometimes things like “how dare you be a jerk to so-and-so” and other times a totally made up story about how bad the place is.

bad reviews

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A week goes by, everyone forgets about it and moves on with their lives. Except the dealer/other-place who now has a crappy rating and tons of bad reviews. The lose business, and in the worst case scenario, random-employee-guy who wasn’t even working that day loses his job when they have to cut staff. Ok, that may be rare, but it’s not out of the question this impacts more than the business owners, even if it’s in the form of “yeah we can’t give you that raise anymore.”

Now, I TOTALLY GET IT that places need to be aware that one bad customer service experience can be super costly. And sometimes they deserve the scorn they get (not car related, but I’m looking at you, mattress place with the 9/11 twin mattress sale).

However, and this is my main beef with this stuff:

How come we blindly believe the original person in these instances?

Yes, sometimes they have screenshots of texts or something like that. The Porsche instance above had that.  But most of the time, how do we know they’re not making it up?

this dick gets it

this dick gets it

Nobody ever lies on the internet, right?

Or at least, there’s only one side to every story, right?

This isn’t about a bad review, but it still shows that things may not always be as they seem: Last week there was a reddit post about a drunk driver crashing into and killing one person. The post was basically an anti-drunk driving PSA, and made it to the front page of r/all pretty quickly. But soon, there were tons of articles saying the post was fake and the accident never happened. The next day, a news article appeared showing that yes, the crash did happen. However, the car with the dead passenger was likely drag racing, and the driver that hit them may not have been drunk at all (still remains unclear). Even with all the new information about this, thousands of people will have only read the original post and only remember the drunk-driving part.

Weird how the drag-racing part got left out of the original post.

And yet, when someone leaves a bad review, we pretty much trust everything they’re saying, even if they may have left out the part about them maybe not being 100% in the right. Anyone who’s worked food service has experienced the “I’m going be extremely rude and then leave no tip because you didn’t meet my ridiculous expectations” person.  We simply don’t know both sides to the story on these.

The other thing that bothers me is that it would be SO EASY to do this to a competitor. 

What’s to stop a dealer to make up a story about their competitor? If there was a way to test how easy this is without actually hurting anyone, I’d do it. But I can’t think of one, so picture this:

Car Dealer Bob hates Jim’s Auto Sales. So he creates a fake profile (or pays someone $20), leaves a bad review, and then makes a few forum posts about how poorly he was treated at Jim’s. Jim’s gets flooded with 1 star reviews. A couple days go by, and Jim’s makes a post that says “hey we’ve talked to all our salespeople and nobody remembers this person.” What percentage of people see that and take down their reviews? Probably about zero, and then Jim is stuck with a low rating for months to years.

Please don’t tell me that this doesn’t happen.

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Alright, that’s enough ranting from me. Again, I completely understand being pissed off and wanting to make sure someplace gets their due justice. I’m all about businesses being held accountable. Just… be careful. Your words could have way more power than you think.

Disclaimer: I don’t own a car business, I don’t work for a car business, and nobody is paying me to have this opinion. I’m just a writer who gets into weird situations like these: 

The Time I Got Interviewed To Be The Next Host of Top Gear USA

The time Firestone flew me to Virginia to off-road the new Destination M/T2 tire on some Jeep Rubicons

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave your own bad review of me in the comments. Or on my crappy YouTube videos, like this one, which sucks: 

 

 

 

 

Scott Huntington

Author Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington is an Automotive YouTuber and writer who loves cars, sports, and business. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington or email scottmhuntington@gmail.com.

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