Darkness slithered in like an unctuous serpent, enigmatic, noxious and malevolent.  It quickly suffocated the light and all that was good and decent.  Evil could be done in the shadows.  Trickery and thievery thrived there.

In honor of Halloween, and all things cryptic, dark, and wicked, I offer you a frightening tale.  A tale so horrifying and blood curdling, the faint of heart may want to read through the safety of their cuffed hands.  Scarier still, the tale is true…

Consumer review sites are everywhere – Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc.  They’re powerful and carry a significant amount of weight.  It has become second nature for consumers to vet companies or products via these sites.  They can be immensely helpful in the decision-making process, or at least, they make you feel that way.

Many sites have developed a “pay-to-play” platform.  Companies are being pressured to pay these sites just for a level playing field.  For example, erroneous and unverified reviews can take months to be removed, if at all.  We’ve had a number of reviews in which the consumer clearly mentions a different company in a different state.  This could be an honest mistake on the consumer’s side, but some review sites are slow to react, if at all, unless you’re a paying customer.  Additionally, it’s a well-known fact that companies can now pay for reviews.  They can actually purchase “reviews” via any number of websites/individuals.  The following was actually posted on our Yelp page:

I think we can all agree that when reading reviews and vetting a company or product, we tend to take an average – tossing out the best and worst and looking for patterns.  In other words, we take people’s words with a grain of salt, or at least, for the most part, we should.  The entire idea of making an educated decision on a product or service makes perfect and total sense.  It’s an excellent tool on the surface, but some consumers yield this tool as a weapon.  Most sites allow contractors the ability to refute a negative review, but it can be time-consuming, and the negative review can cause untold and undue damage to a company’s reputation in the meantime.  Yes, the contractor does have some recourse, but in the meantime, the negative press can be irreversible, and their words hang out on the web like a prepared noose.  The scales have tipped drastically, and somewhat unjustly.  And now, the entire process has been corrupted for consumers as well now that companies can purchase reviews.  I don’t believe this was the initial intent of these sites.  It’s become a risky game, and both the consumer and contractor may be set up for a fall.

As a consumer, it’s always wise to do your homework, and I’m certainly not suggesting otherwise.  I am merely suggesting that you consider people’s words carefully and cautiously.  To me, the best, most trustworthy referrals come from friends, families, and neighbors.  Besides, they’re free.  As always, reach out to Sweeney’s.  We welcome your feedback and value your referrals.   We proudly serve the communities of Villa Park, Elmhurst, Oakbrook, Oakbrook Terrace, Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Wood Dale, Itasca, and more!

Sweeney’s:  A Plant Based Company

Plant of the Week

Echinacea ‘Evan Saul’

Large, fragrant coneflower with tangerine, pinkish blooms and dark brown cones bloom early Summer through late Summer amongst coarse, green leaves.  Prefers sun to partial sun, and moist, well-drained soil.  Grows 24-36″ tall and 12-18″ wide.   Attracts pollinators, butterflies, and other wildlife.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

-Bill Gates

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney