Reviewer Groups — company kept my money after I fulfilled my end of the deal
This is a company who offers deals on Amazon products in exchange for reviews. The way it works is they list products on their website, you purchase the product, write a review on Amazon, screenshot the review and send it to this company, and they will then refund your money. Basically, they pay for the product in exchange for your review. At least that's how it's supposed to work.
One of the biggest fears of a consumer when joining a site like this is that the company will not fulfill their end of the bargain and we will end up basically ripped off. That is exactly what happened to me with this company, not on one but two products. At first it went smoothly. I would purchase a product, write my review, send a screenshot, and get refunded. I was thrilled that this company seemed legit and I even told my friends about it. Then I wrote a one-star review on a product that failed to work after I tested it multiple times. The seller complained to Reviewer Groups, who immediately contacted me and urged me to retest the product. This seemed odd and out of line to me but, because I had planned to retest anyway, I made a note of their suggestions and moved on.
I purchased two additional products from their site, wrote reviews for them, and submitted them for a refund. A week passed and I didn't get a refund verification as usual. I sent an email to Reviewer Groups to see if there was a problem. They responded that because I hadn't responded to their email regarding the previous product, they had stopped processing my refunds completely. This immediately sent up alarm bells and an email exchange that lasted for a week ensued. What it boiled down to was this: unless I changed my review to 4 stars or better, they would not refund my money for the other products. In total, 14 emails were exchanged.
A summary of my emails amounted to:
- I fulfilled the requirements for a refund as outlined on your site and you still refuse to keep your end of the deal until I change my review of this other product.
- I will retest the product but I will give it the review that I think it deserves no matter what.
- You said you weren't refunding my money because I didn't respond to your email and yet we've now had a week-long email exchange and, lo and behold, I still have no refunds.
- I think this has nothing to do with whether I responded to the first email, but rather that you are trying to force me to change my review to something that you and the seller are happy with.
- You are being unethical.
I will provide here some quotes from their emails to show that their intention was to force me to change my review to something more favorable by withholding my money. Despite their flowery words and attempt to imply that they only want honesty and fair testing, their ending statements prove otherwise.
- "The last thing we want is ask our users to lie."
- "We would appreciate if you could choose more generous words and offer a reasonable star rating."
- "We are unable to verify any more reviews from you until we receive further feedback from your previous test, regardless of what the test outcome will be." (Make note of that last part.)
- "The updated content looks fair to us but the 3-star rating is not... We can't verify any further reviews from you." (Again, note that they previously stated the test outcome didn't matter.)
Basically, despite them saying they were only withholding my refunds because I had failed to respond to their first email, ultimately they decided not to refund my money because my updated review was not a high enough rating for them. Despite them saying they only wanted me to retest the product and weren't concerned with the outcome, their decision was wholly based on the outcome.
In the end, this company kept my money. I consider it stealing. I fulfilled the requirements as outlined on their website to qualify for a refund of my purchases. Yet because I didn't write a review that they liked for a completely different product, they refused to refund my money. The success of a site like this depends on the confidence of consumers that the company will fulfill their part of the agreement after the consumer has invested money. There can be no trust if either one of the participants breaks their word. Yet that is exactly what happened here. I got ripped off. Unless you want to risk the same unjustified and unethical behavior happening to you, I strongly advise that you steer clear of this company. There are literally dozens of others who keep their word, who will not steal your money, who will not try to force you to write the reviews that they want by withholding your refunds. There are better companies out there who will not steal from you. This is not one of them.