WAE+ (waeplus.co.uk) reviews are oh so slightly suspicious

Summary

This post is old and things have evolved since then.

A while back I accidentally discovered a strange trend in positive WAE+ reviews online, i.e. that they were written by obvious shill accounts being recycled across a few different companies. As a result of the original post (below), Zahed Kamal, a freelancer employed to post such reviews, accidentally revealed himself to me (see comments). The Guardian newspaper picked up on all of this too, and they have more investigation/insight:

Guardian Money tracked down fake reviews promoting WAE+ (formerly known as We Are Electricals), which last year was the most complained about company to our consumer champions’ Bachelor&Brignall consumer champions column.

[…]

When Guardian Money contacted Kamal, he told us he was contracted to post reviews about WAE+ and was paid for his services. It is understood he was contacted through Freelancer.com by someone under the name of “f0rtkn0x”. This is believed to be Ben Slater, operations director of WAE+.

Fake reviews plague consumer websites – Guardian.co.uk

Other Useful resources if you’re interested in WAE+:

A friendly reminder that posting reviews of fake experiences, from which you expect to personally gain, is illegal under the Fraud Act 2006.

Original text follows.


As their rebranded WeAreElectricals+ (WAE+, WAEplus, waeplus.co.uk) came up in a Google shopping search for me with relatively good reviews(!), I had to investigate. As a little back-story, I had a job interview there once upon a time and felt they were unprofessional to say the least, and was amused a few months later to see their name come up in the Guardian regarding borderline illegal practices (i.e. taking people’s money, not giving them anything in return and refusing to give refunds – it turned out to be a pretty lucky escape that I didn’t end up with their name on my CV as this all blew up afterwards).

And indeed, upon a cursory inspection, the reviews do not stand up to scrutiny.

The vast majority of recent 5 star reviews are written by accounts who have also reviewed a few other companies. If you look through them, you find that they have all reviewed the same companies!

What I’ve done is I’ve looked at the latest 5 star reviews on ReviewCentre.com and TrustPilot.co.uk and aggregated them into the following table. The table shows for each reviewer what other companies they have reviewed. Any company that comes up twice in the set is included in the table. From this you can see a very, very suspicious similarity across all the most recent five star reviewers. I’ve also included the total number of reviews they have made.

UserMH TrendsPhix ClothingPlus500Loveclothing% (total)*

Mitch X 100% (2)
sueTHEbest X 100% (2)
JstSamira X 100% (2)
BENlitchers X X 75% (4)
Carly Rudding X 100% (2)
Liam Ridgewell X 100% (2)
harrygoodwille X X X 100% (4)
Reeves X X 75% (4)
L. Roswell X 66% (3)
jared X 100% (2)
Jack Drinkwater X X 100% (3)
Sally Kingston X X X 100% (4)

* The percentage of reviews accounted for by the reviews in this table (and WAE+). i.e. consider a user who has reviewed four companies. One is WAE+, let’s say two appear in this table, then this column would be 75% (4). The purpose of this is to show that I am not taking people with thousands of reviews, finding a tiny intersection and claiming it’s significant.

Conclusion

Apparently, most people who thought WAE+, a company based in Birmingham UK with prices in pounds sterling, has good customer service also bought from M.H Trends, which is odd because M.H Trends is an American clothes shop with prices in dollars. This seems very unlikely. Clearly, these reviewers are not real people, but are instead shill accounts. From the fact they seem to be focussing on a small set of companies, the chances are that WAE+ are not posting these reviews; instead they are outsourcing it to some other company. The other company is employed by a few different companies (including WAE+, MH Trends, Phix Clothing, etc) and is recycling their accounts so they don’t have to re-register quite so much. I would further hypothesise that WAE would have tried to handle this internally before outsourcing it, so a number of positive reviews from before these are probably also fake.

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11 comments on “WAE+ (waeplus.co.uk) reviews are oh so slightly suspicious
  1. Mrboo says:

    lol! i think you are his competitor!!

  2. Rich says:

    Oh crap. I wish I’d actually done some research before buying from them.
    I’ve only spent £30, but still…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for all the useful info on WAE+. Just been caught myself.
    First time I’ve used WAE+ and first time I’ve had any problem with buying over the internet.
    Ordered a camera on Sat 28 July. My bank was debited on 30 July so I assumed goods had been despatched. However, order progress shows estimated delivery of 13-15 August. This looks strange. Other goods I ordered on free delivery from other suppliers on 28 July all arrived by 8 August.
    Quick check of WAE+ reviews online show that cash up front followed by delayed delivery & delayed refunds are commonplace. A lot of very bad reviews & some very suspect (in my opinion) glowing reviews. Birmingham Trading Standards are aware (see BTS website).I have cancelled my order and am not surprised to find that refunds take a lot longer than when they take the cash. Nothing so far other than that ‘it’s being dealt with’. I have given details to Birmingham Trading Standards, via the Citizen Advice Consumer Helpline 08454 040506 & advised my bank & local police of same.
    Wish I’d done my research on them first !

    • me says:

      Thanks for that. It’s brilliant they close with “There are many positive reviews on the internet for WAE+”!

      As the article notes, the Guardian had complaints and published an article about We Are Electricals (not technically WAE+, but the same directors, the same office and most likely the same employees) last year. It’s sad that a year on, they still exist and appear to be trading in exactly the same way.

  4. […] results, and we were not the only ones to notice. In March 2012, an internet culture blogger called Danger Nazi Zombies Ahead (DNZA), who had read Guardian Money’s 2011 stories, and once had a job interview with We Are […]

  5. nkvherus says:

    Firstly, I’ve reported this company to a few organisations (including Consumer Advice and Trading Standards). I ordered my item on the 2nd of July and was given a time frame via their order system that it would arrive by the 8th of July. When the 8th came along and I heard nothing, I contacted them. I was asked to “wait a few more working days for it to arrive”, of course when I told them recently I was asked to wait those few working days they had no record of the conversation (what?). I contacted them again and was told it would *definitely* be here by Friday 19th July. Nothing here today, so I phoned them again. Notice that I have to contact them!

    They have told me that it will be delivered TO THEIR WAREHOUSE by NEXT Friday (26th July). So I ordered something on the 2nd which was apparently in stock, only to receive it a month later? No thanks. I told them I want a refund, apparently they are sorting that out but I highly doubt this will be a quick and pleasant experience. Reported to a number of organisations, sent a complaint in to WAE+ which will likely be ignored. I’ll continue to write the terrible reviews they deserve on every website I can find. Social networking is also going to prove very useful.

  6. Graham says:

    I’ve started a Facebook page which links all of the various articles and tools for investigating and exposing WAE+, https://www.facebook.com/pages/WAE-Scammers/379131918853217 . I’d like to find out a way to inform the websites where these false reports are being left and put an end to this. Please join. Thanks

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