5 Things to Know About Trustpilot
What Is Trustpilot?
According to the website, founder and CEO Peter Holten Mühlmann started Trustpilot to give consumers a voice and to give companies a way to listen and respond. The company says it aims to achieve this goal in the most transparent way possible in order to build trust.
How Does Trustpilot Work?
Trustpilot works by collecting ratings and reviews from consumers around the world. Consumers can create free accounts to share their experiences with businesses, and companies can create free accounts to respond. But you don't need an account to see business ratings and read reviews.
While anyone can leave reviews on Trustpilot, there are guidelines for who's eligible to rate and review a company. You have to check a box when leaving a review that confirms you're writing about your own genuine experience, and you have to enter your email address to verify your review.
Whether you're looking to read reviews or leave one of your own, visit Trustpilot.com to get started.
From the website's homepage, you can search for a company or category to explore. I typed in "dresslily" and clicked on DressLily.com to get an idea for how Trustpilot works. This is a clothing retailer that I've seen advertised on social media, but I've never ordered from them.
Below this, you'll see the option to write a review. If you want to review the company, click the number of stars you'd like to rate it, and click "Write a review." From there, you can talk about your experience, give your review a title and confirm that the review is about your own experience. Then you'll be asked to sign in with Google, Facebook or your email address to continue.
Lower on the page, you'll see all of the published reviews sorted by date. Trustpilot says the reviews are published automatically, so there's no censorship. You can scroll down to read reviews left by customers as well as replies from the company. You'll also see if any reviews have been reported and removed for breaching Trustpilot's guidelines.
To the right, you'll see the Business Transparency section. Here, I can see that DressLily claimed its Trustpilot profile in 2015 and has responded to 99% of its negative reviews. You can click on "See organic review data" for more details.
The business transparency page is one of the most valuable resources because it gives you an idea of how the company is interacting with its customers.
To me, this says that DressLily is actively involved with its customers on Trustpilot, even though the company hasn't paid to access Trustpilot's additional features. If it had, there would have been a note on the review page under "Business Transparency."
How Does Trustpilot Work for Businesses?
"Businesses can respond for free, but a lot of them just ignore their clients," says money expert Clark Howard. "That tells you something by itself."
Creating a free account on Trustpilot for your business is a great way to interact with your customers, build your online presence and increase your credibility. Potential customers who look up your company's profile will be able to see how you've interacted with previous customers and how you've used Trustpilot in the last year.
Paid membership options begin with a standard package from $199 per month. With this package, you'll gain access to additional features including an ad-free company profile page, 500 automated review invitation emails per month and more. Beyond the standard membership, add-ons and enterprise options can get quite pricey. You'll have to contact Trustpilot if you want a custom quote for these services.
Is Trustpilot Legit?
"I like this," Clark says while browsing the Trustpilot website. "There's a certain network effect. They've got 104 million reviews, they've been around 13 years. … This looks like the real deal!"
To determine Trustpilot's legitimacy further, I researched a few more examples in the same way that I looked at DressLily in the section above.
Example 1: Everlane
The "bad" score was immediately alarming, until I noticed that the company hasn't claimed its profile page nor has it been active on Trustpilot in the last 12 months. It's worth noting that Walmart's ratings are even worse, and I consider Walmart to be a relatively trustworthy retailer.
I checked Everlane out with the Better Business Bureau to see how these scores compared. While it's not paying for BBB accreditation, Everlane does have a much higher score (B) after closing 110 complaints in the last 12 months. Because of this, I know that the company is at least engaging with its customers somewhere online.
So in this case, I couldn't rely on Trustpilot to verify that Everlane is a legitimate website, but I could rely on the reviews to see what kind of problems other people have had. Since Everlane isn't active on Trustpilot, I think it's fair to assume that it's highly unlikely the company is flagging negative reviews or hiring people to write reviews on its behalf.
Example 2: Wish.com
Next, I looked at the Trustpilot profile page for Wish.com. I have several family members who regularly order off Wish, so I know that this is a legitimate retailer. Still, I know that the shipping times, quality and advertised sizes seem to be frequent complaints from Wish customers.
Despite those common complaints, Wish had average ratings on Trustpilot at the time of writing. Wish has claimed its Trustpilot profile and pays to access extra Trustpilot features. While the company has responded to only 2% of its negative reviews, the business transparency block says that Wish typically responds to negative reviews within a week. This tells me that Trustpilot may be one way to contact a particular company if you have a problem.
Because Wish pays for Trustpilot's extra features and had a crazy amount of excellent reviews in one month, I'm a bit skeptical about how much I can trust this rating. Still, many of the individual reviews were clearly genuine. So the reviews can still be helpful, especially if you keep an eye out for red flags that might indicate fakes.
Example 3: Fabletics
Just browsing through the recent reviews, I saw a great mix of what seemed like genuine negative, positive, and average reviews, which is always a good sign. Additionally, some of the negative reviews have been invited by Fabletics, which makes me think that the company doesn't limit its review invitations to only those customers who've had positive experiences.
At the time of writing, I could also see that the company had already responded to many of the negative reviews that were left earlier the same day. That tells me Fabletics is most likely a trustworthy company and that Trustpilot may be a great way to contact Fabletics if I have any questions after my order. In this case, Trustpilot told me a lot about the company I was researching.
I double-checked these ratings against the BBB just to compare, and Fabletics has a significantly lower customer review average there. In fact, it averaged just 1.16 out of 5 stars despite having an A+ BBB rating and paying for accreditation. Still, in the last year, the company has closed 297 complaints, which tells me that Fabletics is involved with its customers on both review sites. This is good to know despite some low ratings and negative reviews. Because of these factors, I would trust ordering from this company.
Overall, I found that Trustpilot provides a great amount of transparency and gives businesses the opportunity to connect with their customers, whether they take it or not. As a consumer, I thought the actual reviews on Trustpilot were extremely helpful, and the business transparency page gave me an idea of how much I could trust what I was reading. That's a feature you don't get on every review site!
I also checked the Better Business Bureau to see how Trustpilot ranked. Out of 69 customer reviews at the time of writing, Trustpilot maintained a 3.75/5 rating. It also had an A+ rating from BBB itself, despite the fact that the company doesn't pay for BBB accreditation. This is another reason that I believe Trustpilot is a legitimate resource.
How to Spot Fake Reviews
Unfortunately, fake reviews are everywhere online, and they seem to be increasing. In fact, about 42% of the 720 million Amazon reviews analyzed by data analytics company Fakespot between March 2020 and September 2020 were considered to be unreliable.
"It's important to know how much of the reviews out there are bogus," says Clark, "and the idea of Trustpilot is that these are reviews you can trust."
- Look for a lot of reviews posted in a short amount of time. This can be a red flag especially if all the reviews are positive or if all of them are negative. This could be the work of a person/company flooding the page with fake reviews.
- Look at other reviews that the reviewer has left. This can give you an idea of whether or not the account is owned by a real person or by someone who's been paid to write targeted reviews. Fake accounts may not have a profile picture or name, and they may be leaving reviews for just one type of product or a single company.
- Look at the language and grammar. Some companies hire contractors from around the world or even use automated technology to post fake reviews. You may be able to pick these out based on how poorly the review is written.
In addition to keeping these tips in mind, note that Trustpilot has measures in place for combatting fake reviews. According to the website, Trustpilot has more than 50 people safeguarding the platform, 25+ fraud detection robots and gets more than 5,000 whistleblower notifications each month from members of the global community.
Final Thoughts: Should I Trust Trustpilot?
When it comes to big-name retailers and companies like Walmart, Expedia or American Airlines, you'll mostly find negative reviews. Reading these isn't necessarily going to help you gather quality information. But when it comes to online retailers, Trustpilot is a great place to see if a company is engaged with its customers and to read about genuine experiences from other consumers.
Have you ever used Trustpilot? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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