- What are you?
ConsumerAffairs.com is an independent Web-based consumer news and resource center. We are not a government agency and not affiliated with any other consumer organization.
- Are you non-profit?
- Is this a government site?
- Why are there ads on your site?
The ads are a major source of revenue for our site. Without them, it would not exist in its present form. Our site is very large and handles a lot of traffic each day. It is very expensive to maintain.
- I see ads for companies that are criticized on your site. What's that all about?
We don't control which ads appear on our site. They are placed by outside agencies. The fact that an ad appears on our site by no means indicates we approve of the product. Same thing's true for an ad in the newspaper, or on television or radio.
- Do companies pay you to recommend their products or services?
No. But companies pay us to become an Accredited Member (see below). We also receive compensation (sometimes from the company; sometimes from third party agencies), when we refer a consumer to a company’s site through a link on our site, although this does not affect our ratings or reviews.
- How do I know I can trust you?
You need to read through our site and see if we seem to be brave, courageous, bold, etc., just as you would any other information source you might run across. OK, we're not The New York Times but we're not an infomercial either.
- Do you share complaints with lawyers?
Yes. Lawyers may read the complaints submitted to us by consumers. If a consumer has indicated on the complaint that the consumer wants to be contacted by a lawyer, the lawyer may reach out to the consumer, and even start an action on the consumer's behalf. But we are not a party to those actions, and do not monitor them, so we are unable to provide updates or information about any of them.
How we handle reviews
- I sent you a review. How come it hasn't shown up?
Your approved review may be put on hold until we are able to publish a page about the company.
Additionally, all reviews are moderated before publishing, meaning that they're not published immediately upon submission, and are filtered for "spam" or fake reviews.
- What are your review guidelines?
Our Moderation Team evaluates reviews and images to make sure they fulfill our guidelines before publishing. Not all reviews or images are published. The best and most helpful reviews and complaints are factually correct, include details from your firsthand experience, and have photos.
Guidelines for writing your review:
- Include enough of a description to be helpful for others (usually over 100 words)
- Please exclude profanity, threats or personal insults
- Don’t include personal information such as email addresses or phone numbers
Guidelines for uploading photos:
- Photos should apply directly to your review
- Image format should be jpeg, gif or png
- If you have privacy concerns, consider blurring or blacking out the face of individuals in the photo
- Please do not violate anyone's copyright. Post only your own photographs and not photographs from other sites, users, or individuals.
- If you believe your copyright has been violated, please see our DMCA page to submit a complaint.
Additionally, ConsumerAffairs receives tens of thousands of reviews each month, so we use intelligent software that helps us filter “fake” or “spam” reviews for our users. This software uses many factors and variables to determine which reviews are from legitimate consumers, and which are fake and/or have been generated at the direction of the company being reviewed.
- How do you calculate star ratings?
A company’s “star rating” is calculated using all ratings submitted by actual consumers. We give more weight to recent ratings, and we do not include ratings from reviews that are “spam” or fake. As a paid service, we help companies that are accredited members collect ratings and reviews from consumers. We do not write or create reviews, however, and we never change a rating at a company’s request. If an accredited member disputes the accuracy of a review, depending on the outcome of the dispute, we may not include the consumer’s rating in the company’s overall average.
- Aren't you being terribly unfair and one-sided? Where's the good news?
We publish both reviews and complaints. Also, we are happy to consider responses submitted by the companies at issue and we recently launched ConsumerAffairs for Brands, which allows them to respond to consumer's reviews and complaints.
- Shouldn't companies have a chance to respond?
We love it when Companies engage with consumers. That's why companies can sign up for ConsumerAffairs for Brands, which allows them to respond to consumer's complaints and reviews.
- A friend of mine sent you a review, then the company took care of him but you didn't remove his review. Why not?
First of all, when a review is filed it becomes our property, as clearly stated in our terms and conditions. We are under no obligation to remove it. We also don’t want to encourage companies to threaten (or bribe) consumers to take down their reviews. A company may resolve a consumer’s problem, but the consumer’s original review is relevant to other consumers who use our site.
- So what should I do if I review a company and they then respond and rectify the problem?
If you haven't already, create an account, then go to 'Your Reviews'. Click the title of your review, and click 'Would you like to mark this review as resolved?' to adjust your star-rating and post a new public response.
- What is a Verified Reviewer?
A Verified Reviewer has created an account on ConsumerAffairs and confirmed his/her email address through our verification process, has logged in through a social media site like Facebook or Twitter that has confirmed the reviewer's identity, or has been identified by a company that has provided ConsumerAffairs with valid contact information for the reviewer. Verification ensures reviews are written by credible members of the ConsumerAffairs community.
- You say you keep reviews indefinitely in a database. What do you mean?
We categorize reviews -- by vendor, industry, product, geography, etc. -- so we can spot patterns and trends. We think that as time goes by, this will be a great research tool. It's pretty good right now; we regularly spot new problems with various consumer products.
- Who else can read my reviews?
Your reviews are publicly available on our site to users, and we may also share your reviews with others, including lawyers with whom we occasionally share complaints. We may also forward reviews and complaints to companies who have signed up for ConsumerAffairs for Brands. We may also re-format and re-distribute your reviews on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
- Why do you send my reviews to the companies I write about?
We forward complaints and reviews to companies who have signed up for ConsumerAffairs for Brands. To receive such information, companies must agree that they will use the information only in an attempt to resolve the complaint and/or improve their practices, not for marketing purposes. They must also agree not to use the information to sue a consumer.
- Do you have the right to share my review on social media sites?
- How do private company responses work?
We provide companies access to a free platform whereby companies can login and send a message to consumers privately. When companies use this free platform to read reviews and send messages they cannot see consumers' names or other contact information, rather the message is routed through our system and delivered to the consumer's email address.
- You keep reviewers' names?
Of course. We keep the entire review. We frequently contact reviewers months later for a follow-up.
- Isn't this an invasion of privacy?
- What is a Verified Buyer?
A Verified Buyer has purchased the reviewed product or service and provided proof of purchase history to ConsumerAffairs. This specification is intended to identify those members of our community who are submitting reviews of products that they own or services they've received. If you've already submitted a review and would like to become a Verified Buyer, you can submit your digital receipt or a picture of your printed receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any proof of purchase information submitted to ConsumerAffairs will not be displayed on our site or used for any other purpose.
- Why should I sign up for an account?
There are several reasons to sign up for an account:
- We'll be able to contact you if we need to ask a follow-up question.
- Companies pay more attention to reviews from users with verified contact information.
- A company can contact you privately to resolve your issues.
- You don't have to fill in your contact information again for each new review.
- When your situation changes, you can post a follow-up message to your published review.
- How do I get an account?
Click the Log In button at the top of the page, and pick a login method.
- Why do you recommend Social Login?
When you sign in with Facebook, Google, or another one of your social accounts, you get several benefits:
- You don't have to remember another username and password.
- Your account will be easier to setup, since we can get your name, email address, etc. from your profile.
- You can have your picture appear with your review.
If you do decide to use a password instead, please use a strong password that you aren't using on any other site on the internet.
- What happens when I use Social Login?
When you select Facebook, Google, or another of the social login providers, a pop-up window appears that takes you to that site and asks you to log in. In that pop-up, you are having a private conversation with that site (Facebook, Google, etc.) - ConsumerAffairs.com does not see your password. The first time you use a social login on our site, the login provider will ask you if you trust ConsumerAffairs.com. If you say yes, then they will tell us that you successfully logged in, and give us contact information such as your name, email address, and a profile picture.
You can use Facebook (or another social login provider) to log into our site, but we can't access your account on Facebook.
- How do I change my profile picture?
Go to your profile page (logging in first if needed). In the left toolbar, select 'Change Your Photo' You can pick from any of your social login profile pictures, or one of our anonymous pictures. Your image will change across the site in about an hour.
- What is All-Star Consumer?
Ever want to be on the inside track? Getting your best thoughts to the right people quickly? If so, this is the group for you. Share your thoughts on the brands that matter to you most and we'll do the rest.
Only you know what those products are that mean the most to you. What we'll do once you join in is ask you to share with us which categories you have the most experience in. From there we'll follow up with specific (but occassional) questionnaires on those topics.
Mail & phone inquiries
- I mailed you a written review and didn't get a reply. Why not?
- I called to ask you a question and you didn't call me back. Why not?
See above. While we may call you to collect information about a company whose product or service you have used, we generally are not set up to respond to individual questions.
- You ran a story saying that most make-money-at-home schemes are scams, especially if they have anything to do with sending out bills for doctors. But I have found one, Ace Billing Co., that seems legit. What should I do?
We get countless inquiries like this. We really can't respond to them, partly because we don't have time and partly because no one can keep track of which companies are "legit" and which ones aren't. Consumers need to read our site, and others like it, and judge for themselves whether the company's claims sound credible.
- I sent an email asking for advice. Why didn't you respond?
We are a consumer news and information website, and are not set up to respond to requests for advice. We publish general advice on our Web site and we have a resource guide that can help you find assistance elsewhere.
- I saw some complaints or reviews on your site that are similar to mine. Can you put me in touch with those people so we can start a class action lawsuit?
No. While we occasionally share consumer reviews with attorneys who may seek to prosecute class action lawsuits, we are generally are not set up to connect individual consumers with each other. In many cases, consumers are better off going to Small Claims Court, often the simplest and most inexpensive remedy.
What is ConsumerAffairs for Brands?
- What is the ConsumerAffairs Accredited Seal?
A company that displays the ConsumerAffairs Accredited Seal has agreed to work with us to resolve consumer complaints. In exchange for a monthly fee, we provide ConsumerAffairs Accredited companies with certain information regarding consumer reviews and complaints and allow ConsumerAffairs Accredited companies to respond privately or publicly to the consumer. While ConsumerAffairs never changes star ratings at a company's request, a consumer may choose to change a star rating after resolving a complaint with a company, and this could increase a company's overall star rating. In addition, if a consumer does not respond to a request for more information, or the consumer’s complaint is resolved privately with the company, or the factual basis for a complaint is unresolved, the consumer’s star rating may not be displayed and will not be included in a company’s overall star rating.
- What is an Accredited Member?
In exchange for a monthly fee, Accredited Members receive information about consumers who have posted reviews on our website in order to resolve complaints posted by those consumers. While ConsumerAffairs never changes star ratings at a company's request, a consumer may choose to change a star rating after resolving a complaint. In addition, if a consumer does not respond to a request for more information, or the consumer’s complaint is resolved privately with the company, or the factual basis for a complaint is unresolved, the consumer’s star rating may not be displayed and will not be included in a company’s overall star rating. ConsumerAffairs also helps Accredited Members collect reviews through Facebook, email, feedback cards, targeted phone calls and through its website. As a result, Accredited Members may have more reviews than unaccredited members, which may increase an Accredited Member's star rating.
To see more detail about how our accreditation program works, check out ConsumerAffairs for Brands.