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+.
Other Useful resources if you’re interested in WAE+:
- Guardian.co.uk – Concern grows over electricals website
- MoneySavingExpert.com forum thread
- WAE+ apparently submitted a Cease and Desist notice against Google
- Feefo – universally wonderful recent WAE+ reviews
- Review Centre – universally terrible recent WAE+ reviews
- TrustPilot – completely mixed reviews
- Recent opinions via Twitter, currently unfavourable
- Reseller ratings reviews – 0.01/10, 380 reviews. Ouch!
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)*
|Carly Rudding||X||100% (2)|
|Liam Ridgewell||X||100% (2)|
|L. Roswell||X||66% (3)|
|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.
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.