Product Review Sites
Product review sites are a relatively new phenomenon. Like so much else, they’re a creation of the internet, which made it possible for people in all parts of the world to chime in and share their opinions of the goods and services they purchased.
But human nature being what it is, many sites suffer from a lack of credibility. They are too often completely unmoderated or, even worse, manipulated to make sponsors and underwriters look good. There is also a vast community of “influencers,” which in another time would have been called shills.
While some review sites are better than others, it’s local businesses that are often the biggest offenders at trying to control what their customers say. The Federal Trade Commission has rules against intimidating customers or restricting what they can say about the service they received.
“If you have a signed form contract that restricts you from sharing reviews or penalizes you for doing that, the business may not be able to enforce those restrictions,” the agency advises.
In January 2022, the FTC put some teeth into it and fined Fashion Nova $4.2 million for blocking negative reviews on its site.
Let’s face it, things don’t always work out the way we planned. We buy things that don’t work, the price isn’t what we expected or something else goes wrong.
Where do you go for help? Here’s a brief look at government agencies in the United States, Mexico and Canada.