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Why Tomtop’s products all have high ratings

For those who don’t know it, Tomtop is one of those sites that will ship you products straight from China, at pretty competitive prices. I recently bought a Xiaomi phone there, simply because Xiaomi still doesn’t bother to sell locally so buying abroad was my only option.

After browsing around the products a bit, I have yet to see a single product with an average rating below 4/5 stars. But I think I found the reason why.
That Xiaomi phone I bought, well it’s pretty bad. I mean, sure it works and it’s (very) cheap considering the hardware specs. However, I bought it primarily to experiment with LineageOS (RIP Cyanogenmod), and the bootloader is locked, and I spent almost 2 weeks trying to unlock it, with no success, and I eventually gave up. Xiaomi’s unlocking procedure, while straightforward on paper (request “permission” – I guess that’s the Chinese way of life -, download official tool, run said tool), is actually horrible and broken. If it works, good for you. If it doesn’t, you are screwed. They have no notion of what customer support means. The “support” is the forums, period. Forums where official staff barely ever intervene and lots of clueless people like to post their non-working solutions to your issues.

Anyhow, so of course I posted a negative review on Tomptop, precising that the phone was a PITA to unlock. And over a week later, said negative review is still not published. The review is in the system, I can view it in my member area (but not modify it), but it doesn’t appear publicly and isn’t counted in the rating or review count. The phone still has almost 5 full stars, with a bit less than 10 reviews. How many negative ones where kept in limbo? Only Tomtop knows…

So, don’t trust Tomtop’s ratings: the negative ones seem to be missing. And be also wary of the reviews: don’t get me wrong, I have no reason to believe they are fake, but since you only get the positive reviews you are only getting a very incomplete picture.

Posted in reviews.


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