Samsung Is Childish For Writing Fake Customer Reviews


Photo Illustration by Melanie Chamberlain/The Observer
Photo Illustration by Melanie Chamberlain/The Observer

On Oct. 24, Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission announced that Samsung had been fined for manipulating customer reviews on the Internet. The company had hired students to post reviews that both promoted the products manufactured by Samsung and attacked the products of their competition, HTC—an action that clearly crossed the line of trust between Samsung and its customers.

But what were the consequences for their dishonest tactics? A $340,000 fine—an amount they can easily afford considering that they reported a $9.4 billion profit for the third quarter alone. The media coverage on this story was also so minimal that it failed to grab the attention of the public. Without major backlash, Samsung can easily brush off their fine and continue to use similar methods to further increase the popularity of their products. But not only did their actions make me question their integrity, they also made me ponder over whether or not Samsung’s products are as good as they claim.

As a person who uses the Internet to evaluate the quality of a product before buying it, I now have to wonder how many reviews are from actual customers. Of course, there is no guarantee that any of the reviews are unbiased but it is more likely that a customer posting a review on the Internet will be more honest about the product than a salesperson. A salesperson will almost always tell you the positive attributes of product; reviewers, on the other hand, have nothing to gain and certainly have nothing to lose so they are more inclined to tell the truth. But if a huge conglomerate like Samsung is actively manipulating reviews, who’s to say other companies aren’t doing the same? Writing reviews under the guise of an average customer is unfair because many of us work hard for our money. If we’re going to spend a significant chunk of our hard-earned cash, we want to make informed decisions. I don’t want to be influenced by a money-hungry company.

The manipulation of reviews is different than that of advertisements because I expect companies to try and oversell a product in their ads. Writing false reviews is intentional sabotage. Let’s be honest, what Samsung did is rather childish, especially considering the cheap shots they took at HTC. Samsung acted like a little kid on the playground spreading rumors about HTC having cooties so that none of its friends would acknowledge it. A respectable company should never resort to such tactics. How can I take them seriously with a tarnished image like that?

The public should take this into consideration when purchasing one of their phones or products. Samsung already spends millions on advertising so they should have just let the quality of their products do the rest of the talking. If they truly are producing superior phones, then Samsung would not have had to take the time and money to risk writing fake reviews. This situation shows they’re clearly not confident in the quality of their products, and now, neither am I.