Seventy-six per cent of Canadians say their purchase decisions are influenced by online reviews

Only twenty-five per cent ever check reviews when hiring home contractors

TORONTO, April 28, 2015 /CNW/ - A recent national survey by HomeStars, the leading online community of homeowners and home improvement companies in Canada, found that even though online reviews were influencing purchasing decisions in general, they were not always being consulted when hiring home service professionals. Despite the fact that home improvement can cost thousands of dollars and is also an on-going investment in the largest single asset of most Canadians, a staggering seventy-five per cent admitted to never checking online reviews before hiring home improvement professionals. Surprisingly, only four per cent of Canadians always use reviews when hiring a contractor.

"For diligent buyers, reviews are an important first step in the purchasing process – especially for larger home improvement projects," says Nancy Peterson, CEO and founder of HomeStars. "This is why authentic reviews are so important. One wouldn't book a week at a Caribbean resort without checking reviews and hiring home contractors should be approached the same way."

People are influenced by online reviews – in fact, 68 per cent had changed their mind on buying a product or service based on a review they had read.  Regarding trust, two-thirds feel online reviews are either "somewhat" or "very" trustworthy, but there is lingering doubt among the remaining one-third of Canadians about whether reviews are real. So, here are some tips on how to detect a fraudulent review:

  • Look for details about the work done and their experience with the company. Names, photos and detailed descriptions are indicative of an authentic review.
  • Do an online search of the contractor's name to learn more about them.
  • Some websites flag reviews that seem suspicious. Check recent reviews for flags or reasons why a review was removed.
  • If several reviews are written too similarly, it may be the same person with different usernames.
  • If the writer has reviewed more than one company, it usually signals an authentic reviewer writing about different jobs done in their home.

For more information on verified reviews or to find a contractor for your next home improvement project, visit www.HomeStars.com.

Editor's Note: Survey was conducted using Google Consumer Surveys in April 2015, with responses from 1,004 Canadian adults.

About HomeStars

HomeStars is a free service helping homeowners find reputable renovators, repairmen and retailers through its database of 2 million companies and hundreds of thousands of reviews. Homeowners write reviews based on their home improvement experiences – good and bad – helping build a collective knowledge base that is invaluable in helping homeowners make better hiring decisions. A trusted resource since 2006, HomeStars has grown to be the leading online community of homeowners and home improvement companies in Canada. To learn more, visit HomeStars.com or check them out on Facebook or Twitter.

SOURCE HomeStars

Image with caption: "While many Canadians check online reviews before visiting a restaurant, they don't when hiring home improvement companies (CNW Group/HomeStars)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150428_C6169_PHOTO_EN_15826.jpg

For further information: Lauren Wasley, energi PR on behalf of HomeStars, 416-425-9143 x 19, lauren.wasley@energipr.com

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