Transitional Independent Living

New Directions for Young Adults Blog: How to Determine the Legitimacy of Reviews on Transition Programs for Young Adults

How to Determine the Legitimacy of Reviews on Transition Programs for Young Adults

New Directions Staff

Research is an important step before you enroll your young adult in a transitional program. This research should consist of:

  • Speaking with the mental health professionals and educators who have worked with your child to determine the options available
  • Asking parents who have had similar problems about the solutions they found that worked
  • Reading reviews and testimonials on different therapies and programs available

However, as you begin considering programs, you may find the reviews and testimonials cause more confusion than clarification. Some reviews have stories of how much their young adult benefitted from the program, while others claim their experiences were terrible. How do you know what to believe?

The Problem with Review Websites

Some of these bad reviews may be legitimate. After all, not every program can work for every person. But some review websites don’t have a process in place for screening authentic reviews from fabricated ones.

This means good businesses of any type fall prey to individuals who want to tarnish the companies’ reputations. Businesses have little recourse on these review sites, they can really only post a rebuttal; it is virtually impossible to get these false reviews removed.

There is an opposite problem, too. Some businesses buy, or convince people to post, overly positive reviews on the websites, giving the appearance of many happy customers.

NDFYA’s Experience

Sadly, we at NDFYA learned of this practice the hard way. We realized there were a number of erroneous reviews being posted on a website called Ripoff Reports and other similar sites. With such a small program, it was apparent to our staff these reviews were fake as the names used did not match anyone that had used our services.

We initiated legal action knowing these reviews were not legitimate. During the investigation that followed, it was determined these reviews were indeed fraudulent and many of the “reviewers” were, in fact, false identities. The courts found in our favor, decreeing that these reviews created a false impression by falsifying multiple identities and created a phony group of negative reviews about Dr. Rubin and New Directions when in fact, no such group of negative reviews existed.  The court also ruled that there was likely irreparable harm that was done as a result. 

Read more about the court decision here.

Read the court order here.

What Makes a Review Legitimate?

There are a few ways for you to determine the authenticity of a review as you are conducting your research. A legitimate review:

  • Provides many details. The more detailed a review is about how the program works, the more likely it is to be a truthful review. Besides, aren’t these the types of reviews you find most helpful during your search?
  • Discusses the actual treatments used in the program. The reviewer should tell you how the treatments affected their child, and why this was positive or negative.
  • Shares similarities with other reviews. There should be common complaints or praises amongst more than one review. A reviewer that seems to have had a radically different experience from others is worth questioning.

Choose Reviews Carefully

With careful consideration, though, reviews and testimonials remain one of the best ways to research potential programs. To get legitimate testimonials, you may consider requesting contact information for references from the program itself. Another option is to find people who have attended the program through forums and groups and ask for a testimonial. Don’t be afraid to use reviews just because of a few unethical sources.

Read real reviews

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