Most of us think online reviews are a huge help in determining what we should buy, where we should visit/stay or what services we should hire. But how much confidence should we have in such reviews, particularly when it comes to expensive equipment such as our HVAC systems? Read on for some helpful advice about assessing reviews in general and online heating and air conditioner reviews in particular.
Are Online Reviews Reliable?
According to a Pew Research study, 82 percent of Americans read online reviews, and most of them believe the reviews are in general accurate. This group of people also appears to favor negative reviews over positive ones, thinking because there are more positive ones online than negative, the latter are somehow more reliable. Also, people tend to favor negative reviews because they point out what could go wrong with a product, service or destination. People also assume positive reviews must be fake.
Another problem: the majority of online reviews are written by a tiny subset of the population, or about 1.5 percent. Further, the kind of people who write reviews are not necessarily average but have some distinctive characteristics that set them apart than the average customer, including these:
- Likely to make returns
- Buy things in unusual sizes
- Less wealthy
- Have more children
- More graduate degrees
Research has also revealed that the reviewer’s circumstances or emotions may influence whether a negative or positive review is written.
To counter these biases, experts recommend avoiding reviews rated 1 or 5, and reading those rated in the middle, say at 3 stars.
By all means, read HVAC company reviews, but don’t let them be your sole guide for choosing a company. Instead, call the company and talk to a representative, asking for references and then following up. Above all, don’t accept an over-the-phone estimate for an HVAC job. A sign of professionalism is for the company to send a representative to your home for an on-site estimate.
For more on heating and air conditioner reviews, contact Arpi’s Industries. We serve Calgary and the surrounding area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide.