We all know the story of the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of the now infamous Neil Woodfood, fund manager and co-founder of Woodford Investment Management.
Squalid deals with Hargreaves Lansdown have been exposed. It was Peter Hargreaves himself who called Woodford “one of the most gifted fund managers I have ever met” in 2014, when he launched his own fund. Hargreaves Lansdown regularly featured Woodford’s fund in their ‘Best Buy’ tables, helping drive significant investment in the fund by HL’s clients.
You may not think this is new news and, to be fair, I have questioned the validity of fund managers’ Best Buy tables for many years.
But a video I came across today from consumer champions Which? made me realise that we should be questioning all types of endorsement.
Highly rated on Amazon – really?!
If you’re anything like me, you take notice of reviews on websites like Amazon before buying a product. I’ve been known to spend quite some time reading reviews of a number of products before making my final decision.
But were those reviews genuine?
Is this just another way of saying something is a ‘Best Buy’ using different terms?
Thankfully, the consumer champions Which? have created a video to explain how to recognise fake reviews:
Which? put Amazon ratings to the test to see how badly fake reviews can affect customer scores. To investigate they ran highly rated Amazon gadgets with suspicious reviews – like the Onson Cordless Vacuum Cleaner – through Which? lab tests.
Which?’s top 5 tips for spotting fake Amazon reviews
Identifying whether a review is fake or genuine can be difficult, but here are five hints that may give you an idea:
- Read the reviews in detail – and check against other similar products.
- Quantity – If similar products have far fewer reviews, this could indicate a problem.
- Photos – Call-outs asking people to leave fake reviews often ask people to upload photos. These are more likely to be fake.
- Clustered – Look out for a large number of reviews all left around the same date.
- Read the 1 star reviews – These are more likely to be genuine to understand whether there could be a problem with the product.
We want to be trusting and believe what we read online, but beware that this deception takes place.