When contemplating which of the many car dealerships to buy from, consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for more useful information. While these consumer reviews can be a great resource in testing the trustworthiness of a company, this approach has some potential pitfalls.

Look out for Hidden Agendas

While it should be at least somewhat hard to manipulate Internet reviews, the unfortunate truth is that it happens on a far more regular basis. It is possible the estimates you are looking at have been corrupted. Reviews can certainly be misleading depending on the bias of the individual writer. Some businesses may even write overly negative valuations to bash a competitor. Also, disgruntled customers may rally several friends together to badmouth a particular car dealership through online reviews. Conversely, be wary of extremely positive feedback, which may have been posted by the company itself in an attempt to boost business. These valuations do not normally require factual support, so it's extremely easy to construct improperly misleading evaluations.

A Potential Solution?

Some technological tools could eventually help solve the problem of hidden agendas. For instance, sophisticated algorithms that analyze text and can spot a fake analysis are being tested. In a recent study, researchers used freelance writers to create genuine and misleading assessments. Then, they tested the algorithm and asked a panel of consumers to try and distinguish between the authentic and the fake reviews. While the panel failed to successfully distinguish, the algorithm had an amazing accuracy rate of 90 percent.

By picking up on very subtle differences, researchers discovered specific information is a sign of a legitimate evaluation, while superfluous information is an indication of a fake. But while the algorithm's performance was impressive, some fake assessments could still pass undetected.

Who Can You Trust?

So the obvious question is, how can you look at online feedback and determine whether or not the evaluation is legitimate? Look for sites that have some sort of connection to social networking platforms, which often eliminate the option of anonymity making it easier to cheat. Also, be leery of car dealership review pages that seem overly positive or negative. This is a very good indication that the feedback is false.

There are plenty of fair and honest car dealership appraisals online. However, it is vital that you do not take what you read at face value. Visit different dealers in your area and make your own decisions.