The other day, for complicated reasons, we got locked out of our house. Knowing it would be a bit of a rip-off, but needing help, we phoned a company with the website mylocksmithinswindon.co.uk on a Swindon number. They answered quickly and I agreed to go with a pretty hefty hourly rate, but no call-out charge. As it turned out, this 'local' firm appeared to be based in Birmingham, but they promised me the locksmith would arrive within the hour.
It was a nice sunny day and we didn't mind sitting out in the garden for the 2 hours it actually took. The person who came did a great job and got us inside in under 10 minutes. So a mixed effort, especially when the bill came and it turned out that the price quoted was without VAT, which I thought was illegal, or at least highly dubious, for a consumer quote.
Shortly after I got an email asking to review them on something called trustpilot.co.uk, which I thought was worthwhile. I gave them 3 stars out of five, pointing out the delay and the unexpected VAT, but balancing it with the good service.
A couple of weeks later, I got an email from trustpilot telling me that they needed me to scan my invoice to prove I was a customer before they would show my review. I couldn't be bothered, didn't know where the invoice was and anyway didn't want to reveal to TrustPilot some of the information on what should be a confidential document. I told them they weren't a proper review site if they put hurdles in the way of negative reviews like this. What's interesting is if you look at the review page for the company in question (which turns out to really be called rightio.co.uk) almost all the reviews are positive, but occasionally (before they delete them) you will see ones like mine which don't show the review but look like this:
So what it looks like is if you go to TrustPilot you will see overwhelmingly positive reviews, because as soon as someone posts a negative review the company can query it and TrustPilot puts ridiculous obstacles in the way of allowing a negative review through. Would you trust TrustPilot?