Best and Worst Customer Service of 2019

Best and Worst Customer Service of 2019

customer service awards

So it is that time again for me to praise the companies that provided great customer service over the last year and to name & shame those should be embarrassed at the abysmal excuse for customer service they have provided.

In the list this year we have.

  • Guru Cloud Hosting
  • Anker
  • People Per Hour
  • Zen Internet
  • Gradwell
  • Bitdefender
  • Europe Registry
  • Google
  • Trustpilot


These are the companies who have impressed me the most and provided exceptional customer service, above and beyond what I would expect. I really wish there were more like this.

guru hosting review

I transferred my web hosting to Guru in Feb 2019 after spending about 10 months (too long) with Siteground and finally getting fed up with their terrible customer service/support.

IT has now been almost 1 year with GURU and I still do not have a single complaint to make about them, which coming from me is quite a testament to how good they are. Unlike many hosting providers, they do not pass the buck at every opportunity (GoDaddy and SiteGround should learn this), they actually make every effort to help you and solve problems for you.

Also unlike most other hosts I have used, the support team are not jobsworths and do not give out incorrect or incompetent advice, at least not to date. Every support person I have dealt with actually has the requisite technical skills and knowledge and knows what they are doing.

Oh and the response times are very good as well, I have not yet had reason to complain that it took too long to get a reply to a support ticket. Sometimes it is annoying when they refuse to help via live chat and insist on opening a ticket. I know they do this for security reasons, but this could be avoided by simply asking for the security question/answer on the account, but that is literally my only qualm.

You can read my full review here

Anker customer service review

I have purchased a few Anker products over the last few years and so far I have been very happy with both the quality and customer service.

Back in 2018 I purchased an Anker ergonomic mouse due to developing RSI, but while it is a perfectly good product, sadly my RSI was so bad that it didn’t help. When I commented on this in my Amazon review, they contacted me directly and offered to send me an alternative mouse to see if that would help my RSI, completely free of charge.

I will note that I have since had physiotherapy for my RSI, and using this mouse is significantly better than a regular mouse, which causes me pain within minutes.

Best and Worst Customer Service of 2019 1 trustpilot
Anker Ergonomic mouse

Fast forward to 2019, I started having some random problems with the mouse, it would just randomly freeze and stop moving and one of the thumb buttons stopped working. I contacted Anker support, not really expecting much since I expected it was out of warranty anyway.

Once again Anker offered to send me a replacement mouse, for free, no questions asked. So to date, I have now had 3 ergonomic mice from them and only paid for one of them.

This is well above and beyond the level of customer service you get from most companies, in fact I cannot think of a single other company that gone quite this far, except in a “we just want you to go away” type situation.

I do somewhat suspect that this may be in an effort to ensure they maintain positive reviews on Amazon, but they never asked me to adjust my original review, I chose to do that off my own back, so I am still happy none the less.

The Bad

These are the companies which while not a complete failure, have been disappointing, let me down on multiple occasions and could certainly do better.

peopleperhour scam

Peopleperhour is a popular freelancer website which I have been using for the last year or so to do various freelance work such as IT support, PCI compliance testing, website design etc.

There are a number of issues with PPH, such as the extortionate 20% commission they take from the freelancers and then charge us 20% VAT on the money we are earning rather than charging it to the buyer, which I think is a complete rip-off, but that is another matter for another post.

When it comes to customer service, how good or bad it depends on your issue. For general enquiries and questions, the customer service is not too bad, the issue is when you have a problem with not getting paid, then you suddenly discover that PPH are completely biased toward the buyer.

I have had several instances where I have done work for someone on PPH, and they have decided to rip me off and not to pay me, which unfortunately is very easy as all the buyer needs to do is reject your invoice and it’s game over.

There is an escrow type deposit system, which PPH claims protects the freelancer, where you request a deposit amount, which the buyer must pay in advance when accepting a proposal. But in reality, it is useless and makes no difference whatsoever, as regardless of the deposit, the buyer can still just refuse to pay the invoice and request a refund of the deposit.

If you find yourself in such a situation, even if it is 100% clear that you have done the work, PPH customer service will do nothing to help and will side with the buyer every single time, even though it is the freelancer who pays their salary at the end of the day. We earn all the money, do the work and pay their commissions, but get nothing in return.

You will literally beat your head against a brick wall trying to get PPH support to see common sense or logic, they simply don’t care. Which is very backwards when you think about it logically, as pissing off a freelancer is going to lose them a lot more than pissing off a buyer.

The only response you can get from PPH is to “ask for a higher deposit”, which as mentioned above is completely pointless and only benefits PPH, as they can refuse to refund the deposit to the buyer as well, thus keeping the money for themselves.

PPH need to stop being so greedy, give more rights to the freelancers and treat us with more respect, as without us they would have no business.

Best and Worst Customer Service of 2019 2 trustpilot

I have been a customer of Zen Internet for about 15 years now. At my former company, we used Zen at the office, all staff had a Zen connection at home and I have also had Zen business at home for the last 10 years or so. During this time I have also referred many friends, colleagues and clients to them.

I chose Zen originally due to their massively positive customer feedback and reviews, and I stayed with them due to those reviews being true, i.e. the superior customer service and support and the reliability of the connection.

When Zen started offering mobile services as well, I transferred all our mobile contracts over to them too, expecting the same level of service. But alas this is where everything started to go downhill. it is the common issue where the bigger a company gets, the worse their customer service gets.

I had not needed to contact Zen customer service very often in the past, as we rarely ever had any issues with the broadband at the office or at home, but this changed with the mobile service and I found myself needing to contact them on a regular basis.

The customer service & support from the mobile team was absolutely terrible. Since they were basically just reselling EE, they couldn’t do anything directly, and just act as a man in the middle between you and EE, needing to contact EE customer service about every issue. So as a business service it is pretty pointless.

To cut a long story short, when I originally signed up I told the salesman I intended to use the service for business and personal use and it would be used by my wife and kids too and as such I asked about parental controls and the ability to block content etc. I was advised this was fine and that yes the parental controls Indeed existed and were available.

This advice I later learnt was completely wrong and when I had issues with the lack of security/parental controls I was quite rudely and arrogantly lambasted for giving phones to my kids, even though it was them who said their service was suitable for this. Needless to say that I transferred my mobile services away from Zen after this and I am now with EE directly, which so far has been a lot better service.

SO I certainly cannot recommend Zen Internet mobile for either business or personal use.

Sadly this was only the start of customer services going downhill, it does seem to have been getting gradually worse over the last few years, support has become less helpful, responses have become slower, often requiring emails to be chased for a response.

During a recent support issue, I was quite shocked when they sent me a loan router with absolutely no packaging or protection whatsoever. Turns out this is not a one-off either, as I discovered this is also how they post out brand new routers as well.

This is highly likely to result in damaged routers, which means any issues will automatically be blamed on your line, meaning you will be charged for an engineer call out since he will, of course, find no problem with the line.

Everyone knows how couriers treat parcels these days (especially Hermes) and everyone who posts packages on a regular basis knows that you have to use adequate protection in order to avoid items getting damaged in transit.

Best and Worst Customer Service of 2019 3 trustpilot
This is how ZEN post the routers, ZERO packaging or protecting, just 2mm of cardboard,

A recent issue with their sales dept essentially resulted in me cancelling a new order within 1 week, Zen then tried to blackmail me into a 24 month contract, which has left me very disappointed indeed considering how long I have been a customer, sadly proving once again that customer loyalty means nothing to some companies.

I no longer feel there is any benefit at all in paying more for their business service over a basic residential service and do not believe the customer service/support is any better as a result, but sadly they will not let me downgrade my service without being forced into a 24 month contract.

It is not yet bad enough to make me want to cancel my broadband services as the broadband service itself is still good and reliable and I rarely ever have issues, and I know many other providers have much worse customer service. But it is a real shame they have lost their great customer service USP.

gradwell customer service review

just like Zen above, Gradwell is another provider who used to have really great customer services and was a pleasure to deal with, but this has gone downhill as the company has grown.

Once again I have been a customer of Gradwell for many years through multiple companies. I currently use them for both my business and my wife’s business and a personal VOIP number.

The once stellar customer service team have now become slow and unresponsive, regularly taking days or weeks to reply to tickets and often needing to be chased multiple times to get any response at all and getting through on the phone is equally as difficult.

When you do get a response they are often obtuse and disingenuous and require multiple back and forth (sometimes over several weeks) to get a more helpful response or a solution to the problem.

I used to be happy to recommend Gradwell to people, but I now find myself looking at alternative VOIP providers.


Bitdefender is one of if not the best anti-malware, cybersecurity product on the market. It does a lot more than most other AV products, has better protection and gets better detection scores. The other top spot contender is Kaspersky.

While I do concur that it is a very good product and I would recommend it as a cybersecurity solution for both personal and business use (not the parental controls though, this sucks), the customer service leaves a lot to be desired.

We all know that most level 1 tech support people working for large corporations are just monkey’s giving answers from a knowledge base and very rarely have any actual technical skills or know what they are talking about.

When you are dealing with a security product you somehow expect their support to be better than everyone else right? But no, the tech support/customer service really is quite useless for the most part. Often not understanding how their own product works and giving out completely wrong and bad advice.

Once you have gone through the hopeless level1 support, who will most likely get you to needlessly uninstall and reinstall the software, and eventually get escalated to level2 via a support ticket, expect to wait many weeks for any response.

When you do finally get a response from level2, they will usually just ask you for the same information that you already provided to the level1 tech in the first place, which you will then have to point out they already have, which they can see by simply scrolling down and reading the ticket history.

Don’t expect a speedy response from level, every time you reply, you will be waiting for weeks for a response, often needing to chase them when it seems they forgot about you.

If you are a very self-sufficient technical person, then you probably won’t need to contact support anyway, but if you are the average user, who is not good with IT and tends to contact tech support a lot, I would probably look for an alternative product from a smaller company with better support.

Almost all of the issues which I have needed to contact them about are related to their parental control features, which are completely useless, and I do not recommend using them.

You can read my full review of Bitdefender parental controls here.

And The Ugly

These are the companies I have with who have the absolute worst customer services imaginable, in fact not even worthy to be called customer service.

Europe registry - the worst registrar in the world

I have worked with many different domain registrars over the last 20 years, from good to bad, but Europe Registry aka Instra Corporation Pty Ltd) is one of the worst, they are a complete nightmare.

To say their customer service and billing depts are incompetent would be a massive understatement. Dealing with them will leave you tearing hair out and screaming in frustration as they are unable to understand the most simple questions or perform the most simple tasks, requiring everything to be explained 10 different ways and repeated multiple times to multiple people.

I had a ticket open with this company requesting a very simple price update on a number of domains as we were being overcharged. All I wanted was for the price we were being charged to be updated to match the price on their website, simple right?

But this super simple request has dragged on for over 1 year and is still not resolved. IT took dozens upon dozens of emails and the involvement of multiple people, just to get them to understand this simple issue with the price. It then required sending them screenshots of their own website just to show them what their own prices were and demonstrate how they did not match our invoices. Honestly, it would have been easier to explain it to a 5-year-old child.

Another 10 months passed with no further responses or updates, and those very simple changes were still were not made. I chased them up recently and below is the final response I had from them, blankly refusing to update the prices (no discount was ever requested btw) and would thus continue overcharging.

europe registry suck

Even if you have to pay more, I would recommend staying far away from Europe Registry and using another registrar for your own sanity.

Google is evil

I have been a Google g suite partner/reseller for many years, and for the most part Google technical support is pretty good, especially when you consider the mammoth size of the company. It is certainly a lot better than Microsoft support.

The issue is with partner support (PPS) and I use the word support here very loosely, as there really isn’t any, the dept seems to be run by fraggles. I cannot think of a single time I have contacted partner support about any issue where it has not been a complete nightmare.

It is completely impossible to reach partner support by phone. They do not have a phone number you can call them on and they absolutely refuse to call you. Even other Google depts, such as tech support cannot contact PPS by phone.

The only way to communicate with PPS is an email support ticket, which usually takes several weeks for them to respond to every email. There have been several occasions where I have had to chase them for months for a response and on some occasions had to resort to contacting an EMEA concierge because PPS simply wouldn’t reply.

When you do get a response, it is very unlikely that the person who responds will have any idea how to deal with your issue, and it will usually need to be escalated to multiple other people until they finally find someone who actually has any idea how anything at Google actually works, which takes weeks at best.

Believe it or not, it actually took me about 6 months just to get some reseller pricing for some specific g suite related addons. Not one single person in PPS knew what their own pricing was. I lost count the number of different people that got involved in the ticket and the number of times I had to re-explain what I wanted.

So if you have an urgent issue that only PPS can deal with, then you are literally screwed as the only thing you can do is open a ticket and hope that someone responds quickly, if at all.

Thankfully as a g suite end user / direct customer, you will never have to deal with partner support.

Trustpilot cannot b e trusted

Everyone knows who Trustpilot are, and many know what a complete scam the site is, but not everyone has had the pleasure of dealing with their customer service team (aka compliance team).

If you are not aware of the nefarious and unethical way that Trustpilot runs their business and treats their users, then please read my Trustpilot – Can they be trusted article.

Since I regularly post reviews (good and bad), I sadly also have to regularly deal with Trustpilot compliance team whenever a legitimate review gets flagged for removal. Which is always a complete waste of time and an exercise in hair pullng, as the compliance team are dumber than a bag of marbles and always side with the paying advertiser no matter what evidence you provide to back up your review.

The only reason I even bothered to post reviews on Trustpilot at all is simply that it is so widely used and blindly trusted and some companies do not bother to monitor it or just don’t care because they get so many bad reviews it is too much effort, so your review stays intact.

I also post reviews on which so far seems far more legit and to date, none of my reviews have been deleted, so I would recommend Sitejabber over Trustpilot any day. Of course I don’t know how they deal with malicious/fake reviews yet either.

On several occasions when I have posted a negative review about a company, the owner or representative of said company has retaliated by then posting false and malicious lies about me. Of course, getting these removed by the compliance team sheeple is nigh on impossible unless I am willing to sell my morals and sign up to Trustpilot as a paying business customer.

Trustpilot is likely going to re-appear on this list every single year as I cannot see their unethical practices changing any time soon. If you currently use Trustpilot, I suggest also posting your review son Sitejabber too.


It is probably no surprise to see Microsoft on this list, being one of the largest companies in the worst, they also have some of the worst customer services as well.

Every so often I will get a Windows issue that I cannot fix or has taken up too much of my time trying to fix and I will resort to contacting Microsoft support, as on the rare occasion you do find someone who actually knows what they are doing. Plus I used to have a support contract, so I could get escalated to level 2 after dealing with the level 1 muppets.

The most frequent issues I have had is with their family safety, which stops working on a regular basis on all of my kids machines and has been doing so since it was first introduced over 10 years ago. Their usual answer is always to delete all my kids accounts and start again.

In almost all cases the Microsoft level 1 support team have no idea what they are doing and will simply Google (or Bing) whatever issue you have contacted them about and just regurgitate that information or simply send you the link. 99.9% of the time I already tried everything they tell me to do since I already Googled it myself, or they tell me to do something which is complete nonsense and unrelated to my problem or even doesn’t apply to Windows 10.

If you are a non-technical person and thus will blindly follow the advice of MS tech support, they are very likely to make your problem worse or create new problems for you or make your entire system insecure.

They will also blatantly lie to you or give you ridiculous advice, especially the ones in India.

  • They will tell you they have escalated an issue to level 2, when they have done nothing of the sort and next time you contact them there will be no record of that conversation.
  • They will tell you that they are opening a case you and that someone will be in touch. You will receive an automated email with your ticket/case information, but nobody will ever contact you or respond to your emails if you reply to the ticket.
  • They will promise to call you back, but will never do so.
  • Live chat support will tell you to reboot your router or your PC, knowing full well it will end the live chat. Which is probably just a tactic to get rid of you because they do not know what else to do.
  • They will give you advice or take actions that leave your system in an insecure or unstable state.

For example, on one occasion when I allowed a tech to remote desktop into my machine, he enabled the default administrator account (with any password), disabled all my Microsoft services, including my firewall and my anti-virus, and told me the problem was solved, and left my machine in this state, telling me everything would be fine.

I can only imagine how many unsuspecting customers this so call Microsoft tech has “helped” by turning off all security and putting their entire system at risk, scary stuff.


I have been using QuickBooks for my billing & accounting for the last year or so, and the advice given by Quickbooks support is far too often completely wrong to the point of being incompetent and potentially damaging to your business, which is why I am listing them here.

My wife is a bookkeeper and manages numerous Quickbooks accounts for her clients and also has regular issues with the incompetent advice given by Quickbooks support and says her bookkeeping forums are full of similar complaints.

The primary issue is that the live chat support team often do not know how their own software works, which is the result of the bad advice. So you you need to be competent enough yourself with how such systems work to know when you are being given wrong/bad advice, otherwise, you have no choice but to accept what they are telling you.

Here is just one recent example.

I have all my recurring invoices setup to be paid by direct debit via Go Cardless. So the invoices are automatically generated by QuickBooks each month, and the request for payment is sent off to Cardless. When the direct debit is collected, GoCardless sends a notification back to QuickBooks, and the invoice is marked as paid.

I recently noticed that none of my invoices had been paid for an entire month, and upon further investigation, found that the GoCardless connection had been paused for some reason. I did not receive any notifications to tell me there was a problem.

When I contacted QuickBooks support they told me that none of this had anything to do with them. They advised me that invoices are generated by GoCardless and not QuickBooks, that GoCardless controls the connection and the integration and that they must have paused it and that any notifications should come from them.

They even advised me that they will simply mark all invoices as paid even if no payment is received, which left me rather horrified.

I knew none of this was true of course, but I contacted GoCardless anyway for confirmation. As expected GoCardless confirmed that their system does not and cannot generate invoices since it is just a payment gateway and not a billing system, which is exactly what I had told Quickbooks support.

They also confirmed that they do not control the integration and that is also handled by Quickbooks, nor do they have any way to pause a connection, even if they wanted to.

I then contacted QuickBooks support once again, armed with my responses from GoCardless to backup what I had already told them. This time however I spoke to someone on the phone, who was more competent on how their systems worked, and she confirmed that everything I had been told previously was completely wrong and misleading.

The only part that was confirmed to be true, is the fact that they will mark the invoices as paid, even if no payment is received, which is very worrying indeed. I have yet to see this happen, as all my invoices were simply showing as overdue, but this could certainly screw up your accounting as well as cost you a lot of money if you think your invoices have been paid, when they haven’t.

I have recently been using a new CRM system called Perfex CRM, and will likely be moving all my billing into this system and away from Quickbooks.

Is Trustpilot a Scam? Can Trustpilot be Trusted?

Is Trustpilot a Scam? Can Trustpilot be Trusted?

trustpilot is a scam

It is well known that we, the consumers, trust recommendations coming from peers or fellow consumers much more than we trust what businesses are telling us about them. Therefore businesses selling social proof are very powerful and they can easily manipulate our thoughts on any brand.

Yelp even won a court settlement recently, giving them permission to legally manipulate ratings. Both Yelp and Trustpilot claim that they don’t manipulate the truth, but when you take a closer look at the evidence and the services they are selling, it is clear just how manipulative and untrustworthy they are, thus you will often find people asking “Can Trustpilot be trusted” or “Is Trustpilot a scam”.

There are quite a few sites online that allow you to write reviews on any company, but the majority of worthwhile ones are paid services geared towards businesses collecting product reviews on their e-commerce websites, so members of the public cannot just go and write a review about the company, it is by invite only. The rest are shady and untrustworthy business directory websites like

So when I originally discovered many years ago it seemed like there was finally a useful and transparent review site, but alas I was very wrong, Trustpilot is indeed what we would generally classify as a scam and definitely not trustworthy.

Trustpilot may well have started well back in 2012 when it was run by just a couple of guys, maybe they even had honourable intentions to keep the site honest, we will never know.  But one thing is for sure, even if that was the case then their ethics, morals and standards have since gone out of the window, and any good intentions left by the wayside in favour of greed and profit.

While they do have some self-proclaimed checks in place to stop business owners from posting fake reviews on their own company or multiple reviews from the same IP address, that seems to be about the limit of their efforts.

So can Trustpilot be trusted?

In short no. Trustpilot is completely corrupt and dishonest. They game their own system, manipulating reviews in the favor of their paying customers, and they will also delete any negative reviews about themselves.

I have left multiple reviews about Trustpilot on, and each time they have deleted it.

Trustpilot is a scan and should not be trusted
Trustpilot Deleting negative reviews
trustpilot is a scam

Trustpilot’s service has degraded so much that it is now being reviewed on other review sites for its untrustworthiness.

trustpilot ratings on trustpilot
trustpilot is a scam
Trustpilot reviews on SiteJabber
trustpilot reviews on
Do not trust trustpilot
Trustpilot on

The so-called compliance team pushes the boundaries of incompetence and dealing with their constant lies, excuses and ignorant canned responses severely tests your fortitude.

trustpilot is unethical and a scam, do not trust them.

Corrupt & Dishonest

The general consensus from everyone who has ever had a legitimate review removed and dealt with the compliance team is that Trustpilot is indeed a scam, is completely corrupt and dishonest, and cannot be trusted. You will find hundreds of users on Sitejabber and confirming this and that Trustpilot manipulates reviews in favour of clients on their paid plans and will remove the majority of negative reviews, falsely inflating their positive ratings.

Even worse is the fact that Trustpilot will knowingly and willingly assist known scammers, fraudsters, and conmen with their criminal activities. Manipulating their reviews and helping them to maintain a false positive profile that hides the truth, so that can continue scamming and defrauding the public. This makes Trustpilot criminals themselves, as bad as the criminals they support.

From my own dealings with them over the years, I can confirm that I have experienced this dishonest, unethical, incompetent and biased behaviour from their so-called compliance team many dozens of times.

I have posted a lot of reviews on Trustpilot over the years and I have now lost count of how many times they have removed legitimate negative reviews at the request of their client and have then refused to reinstate them unless I have removed literally every negative word from the review, or have requested outlandish and unattainable evidence such as letters from a judge or police reports, which of course do not exist.

Once you have removed everything they have requested, they will then refuse to reinstate the review on the basis that it does not say anything about the service you received from said company, which of course they forced you to remove.

If you have mentioned the name of the company or the CEO/owner of the company in your review, they will even use this as an excuse not to publish and will demand that this information is removed, even though this information is not personal or private and is publicly available online at companies house.

There is of course no logical reason to not mention the name of the company that you are reviewing since that information is obviously displayed right at the top of the page, since this information is required for the Trustpilot site to even work. Of course, if you point that fact out to the compliance team, they will simply ignore it.

The compliance team also completely refuses to check facts or look at evidence when provided, even if it is something as simple as clicking a link and looking at a web page to verify companies trading names or look at an image. You certainly get the distinct impression that the compliance team is lacking in the brain cells dept and are probably working out of an Indian scam call centre.

I have even reported a convicted criminal to them and provided evidence of this criminal’s activities, conviction, and subsequent incarceration, as well as copies of correspondence from Trading standards. All of which they duly ignored, deleted my review, and continued to allow this criminal to game their system for his own benefit.

Most consumers will simply get so frustrated with these vexatious and convoluted tactics and dealing with these mentally challenged call centre staff, that they will give up, which is clearly Trustpilot’s intent.

If a company is using Trustpilot’s free service then the situation is reversed, and it seems as though they will happily allow defamatory or fake reviews to be posted unabated, will put in minimal effort to deal with complaints and will make it as difficult as possible. I have had to resort to threats of legal action to get fraudulent/fake reviews removed.

in fact, if you read the feedback on the sites mentioned above, business owners are claiming they are being blocked by TrustPilot from even reporting defamatory or fake reviews.

The only way to not find yourself being abused on Trustpilot is by using their paid service,  after which you receive preferential treatment and allow you to abuse the system instead.

As if this was not bad enough, Trustpilot will also allow any company you have reviewed to then get revenge by making malicious and defamatory posts against you personally.

According to Trustpilot’s own guidelines

“1.1  You can write a review on Trustpilot about a company if you have had a buying or service experience with that company,”

But Trustpilot does not follow these guidelines. If you have a personal web page or a blog, then a vindictive business owner can get revenge on you for posting a negative review by posting any malicious and defamatory lies they like about you by linking to your personal website/blog. Trustpilot will not do anything about it (unless you threaten them with legal action).

This makes it very risky to post reviews using your own identity.

Even your old reviews are not safe

If you think that reviews that you post years ago are safe from this abuse and tampering, think again. Your old reviews are also subject to Trustpilot’s incompetence and abuse of the system as well.

I have as recently as November 2022 had notifications about dozens of my old reviews (both positive and negative), being taken offline for suspicious behaviour. Upon checking, I found even more old reviews were marked as deleted, unknown to me.

When I asked the Trustpilot compliance team for an explanation as to how there can be suspicious activity on reviews that are years old, they of course couldn’t give any, and just provided a canned response with links to their policies. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had come up with some time travel response TBH.

The only vague explanation I got after a lot of pushing, was that if reviews are left by different people/accounts from the same IP address, this would be flagged as suspicious.

I then had to explain how dynamic IP addresses work, and that it is quite normal that the same IP address would be used by many different people over the course of several years. So beware, when your dynamic IP changes (such as when your router reboots) or if you switch broadband providers, this is likely to result in Trustpilot flagging you as suspicious and deleting all your reviews.

This would also be the case if you leave reviews using your mobile device over 4g/5g, or via public wifi, since your IP address will always be dynamic in these cases and will be used by hundreds, if not thousands of other people.

No option was given to get the reviews back online, just a notification that it has been deleted and that’s final.

I was forced to contact them separately about each and every review they took offline and question it. When I pointed out that evidence was provided for many of these reviews back when they were originally posted, I discovered they keep no record of this whatsoever and they demanded that I provide the evidence again.

Obviously, the only way this is going to be possible is if this is a company/provider you still use and can thus provide a recent invoice/receipt.

Otherwise, you are not likely to still have evidence from something you purchased several years ago and have not had any dealings with that company since.

I went back and forth dozens and dozens of times with the incompetent compliance team on this, asking why they ask for the same evidence for something years later, never getting an answer, and just getting endless the usual canned responses with links to their policy stating why they ask for evidence.

Finally one of them admitted how incompetent they are, not only do they not keep copies of evidence or any record that you ever provided in the first place, they even lost/deleted the evidence I had re-sent during the course of the conversation.

So what does this mean to the consumer?

Unfortunately, since Trustpilot is dishonest and allows reviews to be manipulated,  this means that the scores and ratings you see for any company may not be reliable and should not be trusted, so should never rely solely on Trustpilot as your only source.

They do have processes in place to stop the same person from leaving multiple reviews under different names, and knowing how to get around this will be beyond the ability of the average person who is not very computer-literate. So this does mean that fake positive reviews are less likely.

However, the way they do this is also very unreliable since it is based on IP addresses, so as mentioned above, if someone else who once had your IP address also reviewed the same company, both yours and their reviews will be deleted for “suspicious behaviour”.

Always read the reviews, don’t just go by the scores either. Often a company may have 4+ stars, but if you read all the most recent reviews, they will be loads of negative ones. Dishonest companies will continuously get fake positive reviews to keep their overall rating high and to push the negative ones off the first page.

Another solution to verify a company that seems too good to be true is to check other directory sites such as,,, etc which they may not be monitoring. Also social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Companies that are in the habit of removing negative reviews will usually not allow posts on their Facebook page without moderation, or will quickly remove anything negative, so this is easy enough to test. No company can remove other people’s tweets though, so check their timeline and do a search for specific phrases.

If you post reviews on Trustpilot, and you have your own business/website, then I would also suggest doing so anonymously to avoid vindictive retribution from malicious business owners when you post negative reviews. When this happens, Trustpilot will not help you, unless you pay them.

When it comes to leaving reviews, I suggest using other review sites such as SiteJabber and and facebook, which seem to be far more trustworthy and less susceptible to manipulation.

SCAM ALERT: Beware  SkyBlue Education aka Educational Hub aka School Supplies Service

SCAM ALERT: Beware SkyBlue Education aka Educational Hub aka School Supplies Service

educational hub scam
beware SkyBlue Education aka Educational Hub aka Edfirst aka School Supplies Service

Update: Sept 2022

Another name change. School Supplies Services Limited have now changed their name to “SKY BLUE PURCHASING, DEVELOPMENTS AND DESIGN LIMITED” on 9th August 2022, with a new website

view name change document

Update: Dec 13th 2021
I have updated this article from October 2017 to add new info that has come to light.
This company is now trading under the name “Educational Hub”

Ironically they have also tried this scam on both myself and my wife again this year.

Scammers have become so ubiquitous thanks to the Internet that we just take them for granted these days, you just cannot get away from them. You are constantly bombarded with scams via email, sms, phone calls, social media, popups on websites, those of us who are savvy do not fall for them, but sadly there are still plenty of people out there who do get scammed and swindled out of their hard-earned cash by these despicable people.

The more of us that document these scams and companies implementing them, the less effective they will be as more people get into the habit of searching online first for reviews, so I do encourage people to post on review sites like, SiteJabber, Trustpilot (with caveats, see below) and report them to Action Fraud.

So I had a phone call recently from this chap called Dale at Ed First (aka School Supplies Service aka the Educational Hub aka BlueSky Education), asking me if I did IT support for schools, and how he was looking for providers in my area as currently, they did not have any and the schools were in need of IT providers.

He lamented how his company was the main supplier for schools and involved in all the tenders and how I would be listed as the “go to guy” on the school’s database for my entire area and would make a lot of money as a result. He also made a point of telling me they do not make any money from this and are not allowed to charge anything for this service.

I was still interested and listening at this point, but it all went downhill when he then went on to mention the company he had called before me, and how he had spoken to someone called “Tina”, but she needed to speak with her boss first, so he had called the next person on the list, which was me. He then proceeded to try to play me off against them, stating that the first one to sign-up would be the sole provider for my area, and I really needed to sign up right now or he would then call the next person on the list, and then asked me for a £500 registration fee.

The “this is a scam” alarm bells now started to ring, as any legitimate tendering service does not have any requirement for you sign-up there and then on the spot or lose your chance, that is not how tenders work. Plus, trying to play me off against someone else like that is a very blatant unethical sales practice, plus he had contradicted his earlier statement of them not making any money from this by then asking me for £500. So I made my excuses and asked him to email the details over to me, so I could go and look up this company online.

I then went online and checked out the website and it seemed to be just a simple directory website targeted at schools, who do little more than supplying a printed version of their directory to the schools.  After a bit of googling, I found numerous feedback from others that confirmed my suspicions, and those who had paid the fee to be listed had got no work from it.

I also called the IT support company he had tried to play me off against and spoke to Tina, and she confirmed the conversation she had with Dale and that he had tried exactly the same thing on her and tried to play her off on the company he had called prior to calling her.

I was absolutely sure it was a scam at this point, but to determine just how much of a scam, I called a few of my local schools as well. Unsurprisingly none of them had ever heard of this company and have never dealt with them and certainly do not use them to source providers or contractors. It seems even the printed catalog is fake, as nobody I spoke had ever seen that either.

Since I posted this, I have received numerous threats and harassment from  Stephen Meredith in his attempts to get me to remove this post. Mr Meredith was one of the many directors at School Supplies Service, although he seems to have retired in October 2019 according to companies house.

If you check the people involved with Schools Supplies Service Limited, they all seem to be involved with several other companies as well. One that specifically stands out as having many of the same directors is Tenders and contracts Ltd. which operates from the website which is promoted on all their other websites.

Here are all the various trading names and related companies that I am aware.

Here are the people involved with these scam businesses. Links to public information at companies house.

If you discover any more trading names for these bunch of rogue traders, let me know, and I will add them to the list.

Below are screenshots from 3 of their sites, as you can see, same site, same phone number, and different names. Although edfirst no longer seems to exist, I guess they had to shut that one down as it had become too well known. The educational hub seems to the name they are now using in their scam sales calls.

Reviews on Trustpilot

I did post a review on Trustpilot originally,  but unsurprisingly, Stephen Meredith had it removed.

I was told by Gemma P from the Trustpilot compliance team that literally every single part of my review was defamatory and had to be removed. I was not allowed to mention the person who called me, or what was said during the phone conversation or mention the other reviews/feedback found publicly online. I was advised by Gemma that I would need to provide police/court evidence to back up everything I have written above, which is obviously quite ludicrous and impossible.

Basically, I was thwarted from posting anything negative, so I can only assume that edFirst aka School Supplies Service are using Trustpilot’s paid service, which allows any business to request the removal of negative reviews and manipulate their ratings.

This has unfortunately been a regular issue with Trustpilot, read my review on Trustpilot for more details on why Trustpilot generally cannot be trusted.

Never go by the score alone, always actually read the reviews, as is it a common practice that if a company is not able to get all the negative reviews removed (presumably because they do not want to pay or it is too time-consuming) then they will instead try to hide them by getting a bunch of fake 5 star positive reviews to push the bad ones off page 1. This can still result in a company having a good score despite lots of bad reviews.

NOTE: Since I originally posted this, they now have loads of negative reviews on trustpilot, I guess since Mr Meredith retired, nobody took over the job of getting them all removed.