Sunday, July 17, 2016

Home Depot Web Site – Sleazy “summarization” of reviews to trick you into buying …

I have been contemplating a pressure washer for my driveway, garage, patio, furniture, cars … the usual.

I have been looking at Canadian Tire’s selection and they seem to have some decent units with good reviews. But one of the better brands is carried by Home Depot, Generac. Unfortunately, that one is online only, so I can’t get it any time soon. I read that they market a Ryobi as a rebadged generic brand of some sort, so I thought I’d check that one out. I like Ryobi tools generally … a decent value for money when on sale at least.

So I saw this unit that has 5 stars and 3 ratings … it looked *very* promising. Lots of power (2700psi) and that many positive ratings for a good price is kind of a no brainer. Here it is in the grid of possibilities:


And when you click through, the positives keep coming …


So what’s not to love?

Well, the truth, for one.

Click on the stars to see the actual reviews and you get this …



That’s right … at the top of the web page, they stubbornly report 3 reviews and 5 stars. But the detail section shows 7 reviews and only 3.3 stars. The bottom 3 reviews average 1.33 stars!

Seems kind of sleazy, don’t you think?

Note: I don’t think Home Depot are actually at fault. I think their web development team is one of the least competent I have ever seen. Their web site almost never works in Chrome. It was failing for something like 7 months and I complained several times to them. Eventually, it seemed to work (about a month ago). But today it fails to work again.

Their mechanism for showing you where things are in stock is utter nonsense. If you type in your postal code and the item is not in stock, they indicate this by doing absolutely nothing. No message, no display of nearby stores (which should show not in stock) … nothing at all. There are many stores who do this correctly, but this team stubbornly refuses to do things competently and seemingly always has.

Probably a systemic cultural thing and with their pattern of poor UI decisions and simply broken browser compatibility it should surprise no one that they cannot get the reviews section right. The problem, though, is that the reviews section is used to incentivize people to buy. And they are misleading the buyers by reporting higher quality reports than actually exist. Cherry-picking as it were.

I think they should be rethinking the liar liar part of their online product display … it really does not behoove them to trick people into buying what sounds like an “iffy” product …

Meanwhile, don’t trust their site. Always click through to products and frankly, you’d be better searching the web for more trustworthy reviews and stores with customer reviews that aren’t so poorly managed.