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back to article ASA upholds customer complaint against eBuyer

The Advertising Standards Agency has rapped eBuyer over a Wi-Fi internet radio promo that it concluded misled consumers. The watchdog received a complaint claiming eBuyer was trying to create a favourable impression of the Foehn & Hirsch product by selecting 17 positive reviews and displaying them next to a four-and-a-half out …

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If this was the internet radio they recently had on offer for a tenner, I've no complaints. Wouldn't have been so happy at £45 though...

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Coffee/keyboard

hmm

Do you work for EBuyer?

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ooooh, ebuyer must be quaking in its boots

They've pocketed a load of dosh and been told off.... sounds like a good business model - con a load of people, get told off, find a new way to con...

Actually I guess its about the same as just about every other business in the world

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This is the way it works.

DO

_____Make outlandish claims.

_____Sell shedloads of kit on the basis of those outlandish claims.

_____End ad campaign.

_____Get told off by ASA

WHILE ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE

ASA. A toothless waste of space.

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WHAT DO YOU EXPECT.......

Hype up a product to sell it?

This is what selling and advertising are all about.

I mean has anyone complained that the pictures of McDonald's burgers are never the same as what you get in the box.

If the item had 4 and a half stars and this guy was the only winger, it tells you more about the person than product.

Look at the reviews on amazon, there's always one person with an axe to grind.

100 good reviews to 5 bad ones= worth looking at.

100 bad reviews to 5 good ones= avoid product.

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"I mean has anyone complained that the pictures of McDonald's burgers are never the same as what you get in the box."

Seen the film "Falling down"? There is a scene in that in a burger place and I'd love to do that.

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Anonymous Coward

It never ceases to amaze me when someone has to actually state the bleeding obvious (tm) like "and that, by omitting negative reviews, eBuyer created a favourable impression that was likely to mislead consumers into purchasing the product".

These companies have the brass neck to hold out until they are told explicitly in public they must not do something that it is blindingly obvious to any average person they should not be doing. Then they mumble weasle words about didn't know, lessons learned and won't do it again - apologise only of they have to.

Mind you, no worse than MPs, bankers and businesses exploiting child labour, who have all used the same argument I suppose.

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Anonymous Coward

Shirley

"If the item had 4 and a half stars and this guy was the only winger, it tells you more about the person than product."

Surely the point is that the negative reviews were not present, thus not allowing the potential punter to know if there was 1 whinger, or 100.

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Boffin

point of order

Not sure about ebuyer, but on Amazon, 4 stars out of 5 is not 80%, because the minimum rating is 1 star. We must thus regard this as a 0-4 system, otherwise there is a built in minimum of 20% approval.

Thus 4 / 5 is actually 75%, as it is effectively 3 / 4.

So, if ebuyer do not allow zero star ratings (and I reiterate that I don't know), their 4.5 / 5 is actually 87.5% (i.e. 3.5 / 4), not 90%.

Surely this practice is equally misleading? What do the ASA think about that?

(If there are any errors in my logic, please feel free to assist me)

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Eh?

Surely when you go to buy the thing you get to look at all the reviews before committing to the purchase anyway?

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WTF?

Dear Sherlock....

Etailers pick positive reviews

and bears are catholic.

Play don't even publish negative reviews.

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Anonymous Coward

they missed out the bit...

Where ebuyer routinely delete negative comments then?

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WTF?

Wait a second here, are we talking about the information just displayed on the website or did they produce some kind of promo material here?

Also are they alleging that eBuyer manipulated the 'most useful' feature or is the rating based entirely on what users have said they find 'most useful'. If it's the later then I don't see how the ASA can complain. If it's the users deciding which reviews are useful (regardless of whether they are positive or negative) then surely that's not misleading.

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FAIL

Not a fan of eBuyer

Had a laptop go wonky after two years. They refused to acknowledge the existance of the Consumer Rights Act. Fortunately, armed with the manufacturers technical report, the credit card company stumped up a settlement in no time.

I'd never use eBuyer again.

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Headmaster

I think you mean the sale of goods act, AFAIK the Consumer Rights Act doesn't exist, so they would be quite correct to refuse of acknowledge its existence!

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Guy posts negative review, complains when his view isn't posted next to product on an advertisement.

ASA are just folding to pressure from a moaning nonce.

No story here.

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Consumer Rights Act?

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Anonymous Coward

I no longer use ebuyer after a series of screw ups.

The funniest one was where I paid for next day delivery, they never sent it until 2 days later and as I had paid by paypal and they refused to refund my postage, I lodged a complaint with paypal... Ebuyer responded by disabling my account.

So it doesn't surprise me when they cherry pick good reviews and delete bad ones... other companies do it too (Play... no longer shop their either). At least with Amazon you can read good & bad reviews of products.

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Shill reviews

It's well known that there are people who quite prepared to post phony baloney reviews either pro or anti depending on who they are or who is paying. As a rule ignore hyperbolic or extremely atypical comments reviews or those that speak in generalities or like they're reading from a spec sheet.

And for health / diet products also use your critical thinking skills. If some review / reseller makes make vague or weasely or outrageously positive claims for their product then the chances are it DOES NOTHING. Use a site like http://www.nightingale-collaboration.org/ to report these hucksters.

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Anonymous Coward

There's an XKCD for that...

See http://xkcd.com/937/

I'm convinced that there's an XKCD strip for almost every circumstance.

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Wow

Our xkcd posts are only a minute apart, how's that for synchronicity! Great minds think alike eh? I imagine you remembered that page at the same time I did and see us both frantically panning through xkcd looking for it. One question: did you start at the end of xkcd and work back, or did you start from the beginning and work forward? Me, I scanned from the end back, took me about 15 minutes to find it.

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Anonymous Coward

@Steven Roper

Returning somewhat late...

Towards the bottom of the home page on xkcd.com there's a search box... I just typed in "app review" and hey presto...

So I reckon I saved 15 mins, but that you probably had more fun... :-)

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Coat

As always

xkcd has a cartoon for the occasion:

http://xkcd.com/937/

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Fraud

How does this differ from fraud?

There needs to be statutory protection for whistle-blowers.

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The ASA typically aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer, but I think they had a point here.

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"ASA are just folding to pressure from a moaning nonce."

I disagree. The ASA is, for once, doing what the ASA *should* be doing.

A shop doesn't have to publish customer reviews at all, but if it does then the reviews have to be genuine and representative of the true range of opinions of buyers.

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Holmes

So if Ebuyer have misbehaved here, does this mean that every advert should include specimen negative reviews?

How likely is it that we will see a film trailer along the lines of this?

In cinemas this Friday: Final Destination eleventy twelve *

Four and a half out of five - reviewer from the broadsheet

Bang, crash, wowee! - reviewer from the redtop

A complete borefest, you already know they all die - token internet film reviewer

It won't happen. The purpose of advertising is to persuade people to think your way, whether that means buying your product, supporting your cause, or some other more sinister motive, so the advertiser is hardly going to want to destroy the illusion created by their positive message by suggesting that their product is less than perfect.

*Disclaimer: I have never seen any of the films in the series, I'm using them to illustrate a point. For all I know they are great films.

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