Energy firm apologises after offering £10 for five-star reviews
Small energy supplier Eversmart Energy has apologised after 1,000 customers were sent an email offering an incentive for leaving a five-star review.
Customers were told a £10 energy credit would be applied to their accounts if they gave the firm a five-star rating and comment on review website Trustpilot.
Under Trustpilot rules, companies can offer their customers incentives for leaving reviews, but can't influence whether feedback should be positive or negative.
Eversmart Energy says that the email was sent to about 1,000 of its 40,000 customers. Those affected were sent a follow-up email apologising and clarifying that customers would be paid £10 credit if they left any review – not just a five-star review.
Eversmart Energy currently has a Trustpilot score of 7.7 out of 10 from 1,143 reviews, but wasn't given a rating in our most recent energy service poll, as it received just 41 votes.
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What did the email say?
Eversmart's follow-up email said: "We would like to apologise for the recent email you received, offering a £10 incentive for leaving Eversmart a 5 star review on Trustpilot.
"Our email was meant to inform you that we'd be awarding £10 credit to every review we received, from 1 star to 5 stars.
"Due to an internal miscommunication, we sent you the wrong information and did not purposely intend to deter you from giving a genuine reflection of your experience as an Eversmart customer on Trustpilot.
"We value your honest opinion and hope you feel free to give this. We welcome your feedback and always aim to resolve any issues our customers have."
Eversmart said it did not want to add anything further to the email above.
Can firms pay for reviews?
According to Trustpilot rules, companies can offer incentives – which could include gifts, rewards or discounts – for leaving reviews, as long as it makes it clear on its Trustpilot page that it does this (which Eversmart does).
But the company must make sure any invitation is neutrally-worded, and doesn't try to encourage customers to leave either a positive or negative review.
Trustpilot said it received several complaints about the use of incentives in Eversmart Energy's email, and issued a warning to the firm in April.