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Online Reviews: What’s Real and What’s Fake

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Jessica Simpson of Arlington needed a cleaning service to spruce up her home before a big family gathering.

“I thought, I think I’m going to go ahead and spring for what they call a deep cleaning, which is a thorough cleaning of the home,” Simpson recalled.

She searched online using Google Reviews and chose Texas Cleaning Services. On appointment day, things did not go as planned.

“So, they did send one lady who was actually about three hours late for the appointment,” Simpson said, adding that the woman didn’t finish the job.

The cleaning service offered Simpson a partial refund to be received in two weeks. “Well, the refund never came,” Simpson said.

She filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and found reviews there that told a different story about the company.

“I started reading the reviews section and I realize they haven’t refunded money to more people than just me…and now I feel really foolish because I thought I could trust Google Reviews.”

NBC 5 reached out to Texas Cleaning Services on the issue but there was no resolution due to a lack of response.

With online reviews, there is no fool-proof way of knowing who to trust. In 2021 Google Maps removed more than 1 million reported business reviews and over 95 million reviews that violated policy across its platform. We do not know if Texas Cleaning Services was included in the removal.

The Federal Trade Commission in late 2021 posted a notice of penalty offenses describing what they considered deceptive practices. And now, the FTC has announced it is considering adding another rule to combat these deceptive practices.

Their advice to consumers when using online reviews– consider the source. Who wrote it and how old is it? Also, look at more than one source, not just the company’s website.

If you feel you are a victim of deceptive practices, you can file a complaint with the FTC online. And tell us about it! Fill out our consumer complaint form.

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