Actions to be taken over Trustpilot’s fraudulent content
Following the latest analysis of content on the Trustpilot reviews website, KwikChex is commencing a series of actions to tackle serious misinformation and fraud.
The case against Trustpilot
Trustpilot uses the slogan “Find companies you can trust”. This is intended to persuade consumers that businesses with a high rating on their platform should be trusted. It follows that there is also an implication that businesses with a low rating are not to be trusted. Yet KwikChex investigations prove that consumers relying on Trustpilot’s rating system, which is based on third party reviews, are in danger of being seriously – and potentially dangerously misled.
Trustpilot describes businesses achieving 4 – 5 stars as ‘great’ or ‘excellent’. These are obviously the companies consumers are meant to trust.
But KwikChex has found multiple trails of countless fake reviews and bogus businesses that have succeeded in achieving these ‘trusted ratings’. Some fraudsters even make it to the top of their categories, easily outperforming genuine businesses.
The likes of Apple, Toyota, Amazon, Walt Disney and most big brands have bad reputations on Trustpilot. Of course they may not be perfect by any means, but are immensely popular, with millions of loyal customers and acknowledged strong reputations.
Trustpilot themselves choose to ignore the ratings on their site when making crucial business decisions – aptly demonstrated by their key partners Shopify, Zendesk, and Woocommerce all having bad reputations on the Trustpilot site. It begs the question that if Trustpilot do not rely on their Trustscores, how can they expect people viewing their site to do so?
When it comes to categories such as financial services / investment etc. and others where trust really is paramount, the situation is more alarming. Whilst bogus businesses and extreme review fraudsters occupy the top trusted company spots, some of the world’s major financial institutions and businesses with regulated protection are to be considered less trustworthy. In higher risk sectors, such as cryptocurrency services, the disparities become even more alarming, with well-established, leading exchanges Coinbase y Crypto.com towards the bottom of the hundreds of listed businesses. So the Trustpilot platform is essentially guiding consumers away from far safer companies towards dangerous situations.
Actions KwikChex is taking
For greater consumer protection, KwikChex wishes to see the slogan ‘Companies you can trust’ removed from the Trustpilot site, and for the site to make clear that the displayed ratings are not an assured means of assessing the standards of a business when making an investment or purchasing decision.
Because of the high risk in some sectors, KwikChex also wishes Trustpilot to carry out checks on businesses on its platform that provide the following services in order to assess the legitimacy of the businesses.
- All financial trading and investment products
- Immigration services
- Online dating services
- Pharmaceutical products
- Cannabis stores and ‘alternative remedies’
Complaints to authorities
KwikChex is carrying out the following actions in support of these principles.
Evidence is being provided to authorities responsible for consumer protection, including the FTC in the US, the CMA in the UK and the European Commission.
A complaint has been filed regarding the slogan ‘Companies you can trust’ with the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Civil actions – consumers
KwikChex is inviting consumers that may have been unduly influenced and adversely affected by Trustpilot implying that high Trustscores mean that a company can be trusted.
Civil actions – businesses
KwikChex is reaching out to businesses that are portrayed as considerably less trustworthy than fraudsters, with a view to challenging distorted information.
Fraudsters abusing Trustpilot to scam consumers
KwikChex has worked closely with government and law enforcement authorities for over a decade, and will provide evidence to the authorities on the many fraudsters using Trustpilot.