How much do you trust a review?
We expect reviews to give us the truth about products, services or companies that we are looking to buy or use. With hundreds of consumer review websites popping up all over the internet how do we know where to place our confidence. Websites like TrustPilot boast of authentic reviews from real customers but how can you really be sure they are accurate. Just as popular are people willing to offer their services as positive review writers for a small fee.
For example, the Cash 4 Phones review page on TrustPilot has a score of Very Low (2.6 out of 10) from over 600 reviews. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to have dealt with Cash 4 Phones you won’t be surprised with that score or you might even think 2.6 is way too high.
Looking through the reviews you will probably notice that there are two types of reviews. Either they have received the lowest score possible, One Star, with the words Scam, Fraud and Con or they have achieved full marks, Five Stars, with glowing reviews like Will Use Again, Happy and Fast Turnaround. Sounds suspicious…
…it probably is.
You may also notice that all the Five Star posts have only ever posted one review; while the One Star reviews are more likely to have posted multiple entries for different products and services. The practice of buying fake reviews is likely to be illegal and the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) prohibits advertisers from falsely claiming or implying they are acting as a consumer.
So what can be done?
One of the benefits of TrustPilot is that you can report reviews if you think that they do not reflect the truth and in the last seven days Cash 4 Phones have over 15 reviews reported to customer service for suspicion of being false.
How to Spot a Fake Review
- Avoid reviews that give vague information about a product or customer-service experience. Look for the reviews that give a more in‑depth description.
- Avoid reviews from accounts which have only one post. Check the user’s profile to see which other reviews the user has written.
- Watch out for poor English. Most reviewers take a bit more care with spelling and grammar. Look for signs of badly translated text.
- Ignore the reviews that are overly positive with any balance to them.
- Check other websites for reviews and posts, like MoneySavingExpert.com rather than just consumer review websites.
- Look beyond page one of Google’s search results to get a better idea of a company’s reputation.
Also worth a read it this article from The Guardian
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You maybe finding it difficult to find a telephone number to call on the Cash4Phones website. That’s because early this year they removed it from the main header and also from the contact page. This is probably due to the amount of irate customers calling up to complain about the not so subtle scam.
To call the Cash4Phone Customer Service just call this telephone number:
0845 460 1064
and quote your order number. However, be warned that they are very unhelpful and very rude.
- Inform them that you reject their offer and that you’ll accept nothing less than the asking price.
- Don’t accept any offer for them to call you back as they probably won’t or call them back the next day to continue the to pressure them.
There also some good advice in this article about the Cash4Phones Scam
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“With our top-notch customer service advisors and speedy turnaround times you will receive your payment in the fastest possible time.”
Cash4Phones About Us Page
Another incentive that Cash4Phones use are the Cashback Sites; where you can earn money back on your purchases simply by clinking through to merchant via the various website.
Cash4Phones are offering up to £4.04 cashback via the website topcashback.co.uk, which would be in addition to the very “generous” offer for your mobile phone. While not the highest cashback rate on offer (there are three companies offering £5.05 and one company offering £6.06) it is still high enough to get your attention when the market leaders Mazuma Mobile (£0.75) and Envirofone (£1.01) are the two lowest cashback offers.
As you’ve probably guessed, even if you accept Cash4Phones “excessive wear and tear” lower offer; the cashback rarely registers in your cashback account. As you can see from the screen shots below the customer satisfaction levels are consistent with the reviews you will find elsewhere on the internet about Cash4Phones. There description of themselves is also interesting considering what we all know about them…
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Apparently, www.campareandrecycle.co.uk are “The UK’s #1 Recycling Price Comparison Site” yet many of the top Mobile Recycling companies (like Mazuma Mobile & Envirofone) are not included in their search function. This is because the website is based on paid advertising and they are the companies who get recommend. Their rating system is not based on customer reviews but set by Compare and Recycle themselves.
Take, for example, Cash4Phones where they are given a 4 star rating by Compare and Recycle and are a “Recommended Recycler” yet if you have a look at the Compare and Recycle Cash4Phones forum you would find it hard to read a (legitimate) positive review.
Take a look at the Compare and Recycle Ethos and in particular…
“…we partner with and promote a number of select, recommended high-quality recyclers who have all signed up to our user forum and who work with us to give users high standards of service.”
So it seems, as with many things in this world, that money talks not matter what level of service you provide. Compare and Recylce are more concerned about promoting the highest bidder than offering an unbiased selection of deals and offers that benefit the consumer. Can they really claim to be ”The UK’s #1 Recycling Price Comparison Site”
Take a look at this form their About Us page…
“Not only do we try to bring you all the best deals we can find, we also compare how the recyclers perform and give you as much information as we can on how they stack up against the competition. This saves you hours of time and effort searching all the various websites and trying to find the deal that suits you best.”
With all the negativity surrounding some of the mobile recycling companies, particularly Cash4Phones, are Compare and Recycle just as guilty as the actual companies for recommending someone they know to be fraudulent from their forums (and from many other sites, just Google Cash4Phones) by choosing to ignore the warning signs and and go against their own ethos?
I fell in to the trap recently with my mobile recycling and will definitely not be using Compare and Recycle to find the best deal in the future.
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Recently, my wife upgraded her Blackberry Bold 9780 to an iPhone 4 so decided to recycle her old mobile phone and get a bit of cash to purchase some new clothes for our fast growing 4 month old twin girls. To find the best deal she used www.compareandrecycle.co.uk and found an offer from cash4phones that looked too good to be true… it was.
Compare and Recycle were showing the best price at £65 for a Blackberry Bold 9780 by a difference of £20 more than the other stores and even had it in their Top Recommended Deal.
I took a look at the offer and decided to try my luck going through a cashback site to get a little extra, but the offer was reduced by £20 to about £45 which came back similar to the other quotes. I also tried getting a quote direct from the Cash4Phones website but again the offer was for about £45. Perhaps this should have raised some alarm bells in my head and I am usually quite cautious about when it comes to internet quotes and I make sure I do a bit of research. Unfortunately, on this occasion I got a bit greedy for an extra £20… twins aren’t cheap you know.
So we returned to the Compare and Recycle website and clicked on the “Sell This Phone” button and my wife entered her details in to request a postage pack from Cash4Phones. The envelope arrived quickly in the post and the phone was packaged up and sent off the next day. All we needed to do now was wait for our ‘new’ money to drop magically into our bank account, easy money in 3 easy steps… not quite.
My wife received an email from Cash4Phones a few days later…
Good news! We have received your pack today and are happy to tell you that it has already been processed.
Please find below a summary of your Order (Ref. ########) with an update on all your items.
Phone Testing Reasons Revised Offer Status
Blackberry Bold 9780 Failed
– Excessive wear and tear
£26.72 Awaiting customer acceptance
As you can see our technical team have found few problems when testing, and for this reason we are offering you the revised price offer above.
Please let us know within 5 days from the date of this email if you accept or reject the revised offer*.
To do so, please click here and then follow the on-screen instructions.
If we do not hear from you within 5 days, we will assume, in accordance with our terms and conditions, that you have accepted all of the above and will continue to process your order.
If you feel that there has been a mistake with your Order, please do give us a call.
The offer came back reduced by nearly £40 for ‘excessive wear and tear’. The phone had a low usage and was in near perfect condition. The next kick in the teeth was that if we wanted to reject this measly offer; we would have to pay £8.95 for Cash4Phones to return the phone to us…Crazy.
Luckily, my wife had taken some pictures of the phone before sending it off which showed this was a mistake. So I decided to give them a call to rectify this error and get them to agree to their original offer. As you can see in the last line of the email it says “If you feel that there has been a mistake with your Order, please do give us a call.”. The only problem is, no where on their email or website is there a visible phone number.
On further investigation, by using Wayback Machine which archives websites to wayback when… I found an old version of the website (about 4 months old) which showed the phone number (0845 460 1064) in the header. So it seems it was a relatively new company policy to make it more difficult for customers to contact them.
I managed to get though using the above number and the phone was answered quickly… perhaps the only positive point in this story. The lady I spoke was extremely unhelpful and would not allow any negotiation. She made sure I knew that we only had 5 days to reject the offer otherwise the order would be processed and the revised quote accepted. I felt completely ripped off and annoyed with myself for not looking into this company further before sending the phone off. A simple search in google would have revealed numerous articles and bad reviews.
So beware of the Cash4Phones strategy of reeling you in by (fraudulently) quoting much high than the competition before netting your phone and reducing the agreed offer by claiming Excessive Wear and Tear… don’t take the bait.
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