There are perhaps fewer things I detest as a consumer when evaluating whether or not to do business with a particular company is businesses and their associates (in their employ or otherwise) engaging in “Astroturfing” — The posting of positive reviews and ratings of their own business online (In this instance, under their personal accounts).
Lawrence (Vic.) Pty Ltd. T/A Thrifty Vic Car and Truck rental – Glenn Lawrence…
“Personally I think that these guys are the best rental company in Victoria. They always have great service a delivery on time with a smile. I would recommend them to anybody.”
– Source: Google Maps
…(if he is the same Glenn Lawrence who is connected to the Licensee) Of Course he would say that, he owns the franchise he’s reviewing.
In terms of employees rating their employer… (If the Boss is doing it, then it would be reasonable to ask whether or not some of the other employees are being encouraged to do this.), It appears Lawrence Vic Pty Ltd’s Chief Financial Officer has placed 5 star ratings a number of locations.
In saying that, If he is the same “Peter Sowinski” under the employ of the Licensee It’s also possible that he did so on his own volition without thinking of the potential legal implications and because he possibly actually enjoys his work there. However, upon looking at his Google profile, he has posted 5 star ratings for at least 10 branches (may be more) owned by Lawrence Vic Pty Ltd.
Also briefly came across this… Again, a “Glenn Lawrence” (if he is the same Glenn Lawrence) rates his own business again on Facebook. Melissa Panozzo and Ali Shaw are also apparently under the employ of Lawrence Vic Pty Ltd (if you glance at both their Facebook profiles). Furthermore, if you glance profiles from where the ratings and reviews have come from, most of them appeared to be from direct friends to one of the Staff in question. While friends of staff are well within their right to place a review (if they are genuine customers), a conflict of interest is present and this perhaps should really be disclosed as per the ACCC Guidelines in respect to asking friends to leave a review.
If this business is engaging in this conduct, I feel it would be reasonable to question how many of the other reviews have possibly been fabricated? Furthermore, it opens up questions surrounding what other conduct this Franchise may be engaging in that may be less than upfront. Personally I can’t help picturing an internal sales motivation scene where staff may be encouraged to bend the rules a bit. The ACCC and Consumer Affairs Victoria have both been notified of the reviews.