I was reading an online review yesterday for a law office in Spain based in Alicante. Loads of good reviews in fact, but I noticed one of them was from “Patrick O’ Toole, Dublin, United Kingdom”.
Patrick was profuse in praise for the lawyers, but I’m thinking the fact that he is from Dublin in the UK suggests a little creative writing from the content creator in the lawyers.
All testimonials in Spanish Solutions are real- But this got me thinking is everyone following the rules when it comes to honest references and testimonials in Spain?
A recent survey found that nearly eight in 10 consumers say they assume reviews are fake but yet 84% of consumers say they can’t spot a fake review.
Here are a few ways we think will help you spot a fake review on your Spanish estate agent, Spanish lawyer or Spanish tax advisors website.
Generic names and/or photo-less profiles
If I’m giving a positive or negative review to a website, I like to include my name and my photo automatically comes up as it’s connected to my Google profile.
So many reviews on the law office in Spain have no photo on them. It is not like we are against sharing our images with strangers. We do it every day on Facebook, so why then are the reviews faceless?
Ditto on generic names
Sven from Sweden, George from London, Patrick from Dublin are probably more likely to be some offshore company pushing bulk reviews on a site under different account names.
Timing of reviews
There can be times when major buy-days can yield more reviews during certain periods. January is always a busy month for property sales in Spain for example. Brexit related stuff, people expressing how thankful they were for help during Covid or any other specific times are understandable. But… If the website received 10 reviews last month, all on the same day, well you know they are fake!
Me, Me, Me
Online reviews that frequently use “I” and “me” according to Cornell University, are more likely to be fake. When people are lying they try to make themselves sound credible. They do this by using personal pronouns. They are trying too hard to tell you how personal the service was to them.
The same Cornell study mentioned above also found that setting the scene could be a warning sign. Truthful estate agent reviews, for example, are more likely to use concrete words relating to the deal like “A resale property in La Zenia”, or “Ian helped us to buy a repossessed house in Alicante”. Deceivers write more about things that set the scene, like ‘Fully inclusive inspection visit (often shortened to “IV” to guarantee the falseness), ‘business trip’ or ‘my husband,’” the research revealed.
Several reviews on the site I looked at this weekend mentioned “the efficient, professional service of the lawyer”. That exact phrase was used in three separate reviews. Presumably fake Reviews that use the same phrase(s) have been instructed to do so by the party faking them.
Watch your language, spelling and grammar
Many fake reviews are outsourced to content farms often in India or written by reviewers found on the outsourcing website site, Fiverr. Sometimes you can just tell if a review is not written in a way a real consumer would express their opinion. A real review is generally more moderate in its praise. I mean, how excited can you really get about a lawyer? Sorry, Pedro! ;)
Does the reviewer provide specific information about how the professional performed?
I’m always wary of reviews with formal product names, mentions of certain Spanish legal terms or any complicated jargon. Still in doubt? Just reach out.
Why not get in touch with your Spanish Estate agent or law office in Spain and tell them that you’d really like to talk to Pierre in Paris and Gunther in Germany.
Maybe they exist and if so, they should be delighted to tell you how it went for them when they were doing their conveyancing in Spain. If you notice hesitancy from your law office, maybe it is because they told a few little white lies in their reviews?
Getting your legal work right in Spain is way too important to take any shortcuts. Talk to Spanish Solutions
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