An estate agent says he’s “bruised” by recent mysterious negative online reviews he has received - shortly after he posted positive testimonials on Google.
Iain Bainbridge, who runs Scott Bainbridge Residential Sales and Lettings at Kendal in the Lake District, says he has no knowledge of the issues and individuals who appear to be behind the negative reviews, nor have they been the subject of specific complaints to his agency by customers.
“I feel a bit bruised by it … I can’t prove who is behind it, but I suspect. If these were genuine customers disappointed with the service, that would be different, we could rectify it. There’s been some concerted attempt to undermine things” he has told the In Cumbria website.
Among the reviews he believes may be maliciously written is one calling the firm “absolutely dreadful” and another saying its first impressions were “terrible.”
Now Bainbridge has told Estate Agent Today: “You can see from our reviews on GetAgent that we have great customer reviews. The negative reviews on our Google profile have all been posted by persons unknown to us who have never contacted us prior to posting their ‘reviews.’
“Whilst I am fairly Teflonic there is no doubt that this is damaging so I am keen to do anything to help others in a similar position!”
On the agency’s blog at the end of last year, he posted that negative reviews had dragged down the five star average that the company had previously enjoyed.
Part of the blog reads: “Clearly, reviews posted on websites by businesses are likely to be there because the business owner thinks that the reviewer presents them in a favourable light. This [is] totally normal, but businesses retain full control over which reviews appear on the site so will presumably only leave favourable there.
“What we’d recommend is taking a look at the reviews posted on main platforms, such as Google, Facebook, etc. Businesses have little to no control over these platforms, and will usually display the reality.
“Recently, we have started highlighting our favourable review posted by genuine users on the previously mentioned platforms. Since we started doing so, we have received two very negative (one star!) reviews – both in the names of people we have no record of ever having dealt with.
“We responded to these by asking the reviewers to contact us directly but have not received a personal response. Nevertheless, their reviews remain online and although they clearly reduce our average (customer) rating, we are grateful to our real clients for taking the time to express publicly how we dealt with them, and how we prioritized their concerns and desires.
“We would urge everyone to post honest and genuine reviews to assist potential customers as they consider their option.”
Although this issue concerns reviews on Google, controversies surrounding reviews of agencies continue to rage.
Last week we reported that Trustpilot - a reviews platform used by Purplebricks, EweMove and other agencies - would be revising its policies regarding negative reviews. You can see that story here.