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 yelp.com.
So when I originally discovered trustpilot.com 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 trustpilot.com, and each time they have deleted it.
Trustpilot’s service has degraded so much that it is now being reviewed on other review sites for its untrustworthiness.
- Only 7% of reviewers recommend Trustpilot on Reviews.io
- Trustpilot – not to be trusted so much
- Can you trust Trustpilot? – 9 million reviews studied
- Trustpilot has only 1 star on Sitejabber
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.
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 Reviews.io 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 sitejabber.com, yell.com, yelp.com, freeindex.com 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.