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­Why We’re Fighting Back Against Review Websites Like Trustpilot

Here at RealFoodSource we want to make healthy eating affordable, easy and accessible for everyone.

It is our mission to become the UK’s most trusted online refill store, that puts real food within reach of more people, through an extraordinary combination of range, price, speed, and service.

Until early 2021, in addition to this website, we also sold our products on Amazon and Ebay. as we understood many customers preferred to shop on these channels, often due to the reviews.

Over the years we had built up tens of thousands of genuine reviews of both our company and our products on those channels. Customers could see where reviews tied back to a sale and also see a full 360 degree view of our company on these platforms.

However we have since moved away both Amazon and Ebay to offer the best possible service to our customers directly via our own website. Yet we realise that in doing this, nurturing customer trust through the power of genuine user reviews has been lost.

This created a bit of a dilemma. But we have a plan and we’d love your help!

Every day we receive wonderful emails from customers, which we share with the team and always bring a smile to our faces. But wed love these reviews to go further to also help other new customers who are considering making their first purchase from us.

We are asking our advocates to support our mission, by helping us fight back against often fake reviews. Given our market leading RFS60 no quibble guarantee, much of the feedback makes no sense, unless fake, or customers wanting something for free as a bribe to ‘upgrade’ the feedback. Trustpilot is also well known to be vulnerable to abuse from competitors.

For context, of 500,000 customers served, we have just 35 negative comments. Often, even those who leave a low ratings continue to order from us again and again. We recently had a customer that left a 1 star review advising they would not be buying from us again, then proceeded to placed another 7 orders with us, yet was unhappy when we pointed out this contradiction. Why should they continue to benefit from our products when they are trying to out off others receiving those same benefits?

Previously, we were adamant you’d never find RealFoodSource on profit making review only websites such as Trustpilot. We are still very much against this practice and we have never claimed the Trustpilot profile and never will, BUT in our fight against Trustpilot forcing businesses to pay for reviews, we are taking a stand by striving to build a genuine organic review base.

In truth, we don’t care about Trustpilot BUT we do care about reaching more customers to provide healthy affordable food. If you believe in what we offer as a brand feel free to click click here to leave a genuine review so that others who may benefit from our service, are not misled by Trustpilot.

This is the side of profit-making review only websites that you as a customer rarely see, and it’s why we refuse to play the game:

  • We believe that paid review sites are open to abuse and no longer offer a 360-degree view of a company’s products and services.
  • We think it is unethical that companies are added to review websites without their consent so that bad reviews can be left in a bid to coerce the company to join the review website and start paying for the service.  
  • Trustpilot itself gets awful reviews on other review sites.
  • Poor feedback can get removed once companies pay subscription fees.
  • Positive feedback can get removed when companies don’t pay subscription fees.
  • Paying for review websites and engaging on them is to increase sales and ultimately leads to the increased cost of food.

Review Websites are Open To Abuse

We believe profit-making review websites are open to abuse. Many media articles recently have highlighted how review websites are being used unethically with customers being offered free products and incentives to write 5 star reviews. Here are just a few links below with examples.

Quite often reviews do not even tie back to an actual sale. We have been concerned about this for some time as we frequently get requests to send free products to people on the basis of leaving a good review. We have never done this. We have also been targeted by many who ask for a full refund of their order or they will leave a bad review. We find this very bad practice and have never wanted to engage on these platforms where this activity is prevalent.

Companies Are Coerced into Joining Paid Review Website Through Bad Reviews

What has become even more worrying over recent years is we are frequently contacted by review websites to join their sites. As we have refused to do this we have found that more and more bad reviews are being left. The review website have noted to us the reviews and encouraged us to respond to these reviews while also advertising their services. We will not be coerced into joining these sites.

Trustpilot Itself Gets Awful Reviews on Other Review Sites

At the time of writing Trustpilot currently has a recommendation rating of only 10% on other review websites https://www.reviews.io/company-reviews/store/trustpilot. Also, the site warns “We’ve identified that some of the reviews on this page have been written by Trustpilot employees’. It is a fair bet that all the reviews by Trustpilot employees were positive, so the genuine rating is far less than 10%. Why would anyone trust a review company with such a poor rating on other review sites?

Poor Feedback is often Removed once Companies Pay Subscription Fees

Subscribing to their review websites paid services allows companies to have negative feedback removed. A quick online search will show thousands of consumers that have had their feedback removed from Trustpilot. Unscrupulous companies can exploit this, by appearing to have a very high customer satisfaction, when they offer a very poor service in reality. Many companies that don’t subscribe have also had their positive feedback removed. The top-rated Trustpilot companies are always those that pay, and the lowest-rated unsurprisingly are those companies that do not pay. This can be verified by checking out verified reviews on Trustpilot on other review sites such as the one referenced above. Many reviewers also claim positive reviews are removed from profiles of companies that do not pay subscription fees to these sites.

Paid Review Websites Charge Expensive Subscription Fees which Leads to Higher Prices

We understand that for many companies aiming to drive sales, there is a big incentive to score high ratings on these platforms. High ratings is linked to increased sales and being prioritised in Google’s search results (TrustPilot’s partnership with Google mean that ratings are clearly visible in search results). However, we are not driven by profit and sales and firmly believe food should always be sold honestly and at the best possible price.

We think it is normal that food products will always have good and bad reviews. Everyones taste is different and what one person enjoys can be very different to another’s so trying to distort the true picture of a food, simply for sales, does not make sense. Furthermore, the reality of joining these sites is that it is a paid service. So for a food company, this is ultimately added in the margin of the cost of the underlying food. We simply want to offer the very best prices on our foods at all times so we can focus on making healthy eating affordable for everyone and do not want to add in marketing margin to cover Trustpilot subscription fees.

We Don’t Always Get it Right and Improving Our Service

At RealFoodSource we accept we don’t always get it right. Sometimes a product, or our service is at fault, sometimes a customer is not always right. We are a team of humans who do make mistakes! We work hard, and strive to continuously improve our services, so we can always offer natural and organic foods at the best possible prices, while paying our staff above the minimum wage which is prevalent in the food industry (we are a Real Living Wage employer which is very important to us).

However, paying thousands of pounds to profit-driven, unscrupulous review sites such as TrustPilot, is not something we will be doing, no matter how hard they try to coerce us.

It may well be that publishing this post will result in even more negative reviews on TrustPilot, but the many thousands of satisfied regular customers that continue to come back to us, confirms our belief that, we offer a great service to over 99.9% of our customers.

If you love what we offer, please help us in our fight against Trustpilot and head over to leave your honest review for others to find.

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