Online reviews are a great place to start when hunting for the best pawn shop. Whether you’re selling, pawning your stuff, or finding a good bargain, they can help you vet out contenders and gain insights.
However, the anonymity of the internet can be a cover. It’ll bring out the worst in people, or allow fake positive reviews to be left without contest. How can you know which to trust?
Let’s take a look at five ways to keep from getting bamboozled.
Misery Loves Company
Most reviews are left by people who have strong feelings about their experience. They feel compelled to write it out for others to see, whether it’s singing praises or warning people away.
Because most people expect a good experience to be the norm – and thus not worthy of praise – this means that most of the extreme reviews are negative.
So, you shouldn’t be dismayed by a handful of negative reviews. If there’s an overwhelming amount of negative reviews compared to the positive or neutral ones, however, then you should be concerned.
Reviews that expect a pawn shop to be something unlike a pawn shop (such as a furniture store with consistent inventory) should be taken with a grain of salt.
Even though they come in with unrealistic standards, they may still have some legitimate complaints.
For example, a pawn shop isn’t going to have extra stock of a certain item, because they work with secondhand items. However, if a pawn shop doesn’t have a good inventory at all, then it means not many people want to pawn their stuff there.
A basic review, which says something small, is oddly your best bet for an actual experience that isn’t exaggerated or falsified.
Things like “great selection, friendly staff” is definitely written by someone that’s trying to fill their time at a restaurant while waiting for their food, or hanging out in the car as their partner finishes shopping. As such, they’re accurately recalling their real, lived experience.
Check the Account
Whether you’re on the fence about the review’s authenticity, or it seems too good to be true, the next step should be to check the account itself. Does it have other reviews for other websites? If not, it may be a fake account made by the owner – especially if the review is positive.
It gets a little trickier when it’s a negative review. As stated before, people feel more compelled to review a place if they’ve had a poor experience. So, it’s possible that someone created the account solely to warn people of their experience at that pawn shop.
Not every business owner will monitor all the different sites where people leave reviews. However, it shows good faith when they respond to negative reviews and take criticism well.
The downside? If all the replies are a copy-pasted response without variation. This means they’re more concerned with the appearance of looking like they care, rather than taking the time to actually improve their customer’s experience.