CHOICE membership

Modwood Decking and https://www.productreview.com.au/

Hi All, this is a two sided problem, it started when we built a studio and used Modwood decking due to its claimed environmental and fire retardant qualities. To cut a long story short - after two years the decking started warping and splitting and turning green in any areas exposed to the weather. We took this up with Modwood referring to their 5 year warranty and after 9 months of frustration and obfuscation they finally offered to sell us a new supply at wholesale price - Completely unacceptable. My advice is to avoid this company at all costs. Ok being unhappy I went to productreview.com.au to leave a review, here I discovered 21 one star reviews all describing the same sad story. I left my review, just recently I was contacted by productreview.com.au saying my review had been removed ! So I looked at the https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/modwood page to find there have been 15 Five star reviews added in the last month, these appear to be from Modwood installers and agents not consumers, I contacted Product review and to point this out and they responded by removing more of my reviews, so Modwood are obviously gaming the system and Product Review is complicit in this scam. I am wondering whether anyone else has experienced similar and also to warn people to be aware of the unreliability of https://www.productreview.com.au … not to mention #modwood.

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Hi @Peter33, welcome to the community.

The ACCC takes fake or genuinely misleading reviews very seriously, If you believe they are fake reviews, you can lodge a complaint with the ACCC:

Even if the recent 5* reviews are not fake, they would not meet ’ Disclosing commercial relationships’.

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Welcome to the Community @Peter33,

Your experience with productreview is periodically replicated over time, yet as it is an opaque organisation promising ‘integrity’ on it goes.

It is increasingly common for companies to encourage reviews from new customers as soon as the customer signs up, usually extolling the great sales effort, how easy it was to get a quote and pay, without any experience after the sale, especially for some insurance companies and a few utility retailers.

While trends of posts on productreview can be advisory and useful, one needs to be more than just sceptical of many ‘reviews’.

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Would you consider posting copies here?

My attitude to review sites is to look at the balance of reviews. Both good and bad reviews can be faked but the situation of the Modwood reviews of a cluster of 5 and 1 star rating and few in between is a warning bell. The 1 star reviews all showed a level of detail that makes them look more genuine than the 5 star that are short, effusive and make the same points out of the brochure.

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Another way to filter potentially false ‘reviews’ is to see when they signed up and how many reviews they have done. A spate of new ‘reviewers’ all coming onboard within a few days just to make their single glowing review should be sus to anyone. Those with track records of many reviews, some good and some bad and some in between have more credibility.

‘Verified’ only means one was able to upload a receipt. As suggested, a number of the easily found reviews look like installers/tradies in the business - even by their handles. Could have built decks for themselves, but what are the odds in context?

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Thanks that’s a great idea, I did initially approach ACCC but they weren’t much help with the warranty claim, But I will bring these reviews to their notice.

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So true, I had an issue a few years ago with a travel insurance Company, they were appalling and I couldn’t believe they had a reasonable rating, on a closer look all the reviews were about the website or the nice customer reps, god help them if they had to ever make a claim.

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These were removed

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It looks like since you did two separate reviews on Modwood in the ProductReview.com.au thread, they may have assessed it as:

Pointless posting sprees

There is no reason to flood ProductReview with multiple comments, questions or answers that add no value to the discussion.

We reserve the right to remove your content in bulk and ban your account.

However…it’s website also says:

My problem has been resolved or my opinion has changed

If you problem has been solved by the company, consider posting another review detailing your new experience. Posting about your most recent experience helps other reviewers and is a great way to forward your feedback to the company.

Which seems to contradict the earlier statement.

Your latest review could also be seen not to comply with the posting guidelines…where it is not a review of a product or service but general allegations against Modwood/ProductReview.

It is worth noting that there is a number of 1 star reviews for Modwood from consumers, where a number of ‘tradies’ (or their trade customers) have given them 5 star reviews. Highly suspicious.

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Thanks but I can only read the first two lines. There are many very critical one star reviews that survived but it seems they were not happy with you saying the reviews were gamed. It is interesting your first post a year ago got over 6000 views but was then rejected, apparently once they take against you all your material is black.

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Yes I agree my recent post was a bit risky but there’s no reason to remove my original posted a year ago, just adds to my suspicion that Modwood are influencing above and below the line on these reviews.

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Not a great recommendation then?

Seasoned hardwood in our damp SE Qld creek flats environment will last the best part of 20 years with just a coat of paint. First hand experience of previous residents limited maintenance strategy. Regularly maintained with a decking oil or repainted every 5 - 10 years it will last as long as you look after it. Our older floor boards under the verandah roof have been good for at least (anecdotal) 100 years longer. Evidence the over paint and colour scheme.

Hardwood decking can be fire rated up to BAL 29, subject to timber and location. Good quality Blackbutt decking boards or similar are expensive, which explains why so many of us go for composite or the Hardie cement based alternatives.

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Hi Peter

I find this whole synthetic timber is full of spin bordering on dishonesty
I tackled one company who regularly advertises on Facebook because they said that their product was Titanium enhanced. I was blocked !!’

The facts are this

I’ve been in the factories in China that make Synthetic Timber
Two main ingredients are used in manufacture

1/. Reground Craftwood which is in almost powder form. It’s the same material used as a cheap option to build kitchen cabinets etc

2/. ABS fine pallets

Both materials go into a Vat and heated until it becomes moulted bordering on a liquid form

Now to this they add pigment colour , some form of UV Stanilizer and maybe a Fire Retardent

Products vary in the market because they play around with the mix between the two main ingredients. The more ABS used the more flexible is the product but it becomes more expensive to make

Now to make the length of product it is simply Extruded under some pressure through a die and then cooled immediately with water which solidifies the material. Each manufacturer has different profiles

So yes the product looks good but much of the hype from Australian distributors is utter garbage

Fact. Any oil based polyurethane product will in time be affected by Australian UV from our Sun

Ps. I have zero relationship with any alternative supplier
I’ve used Synthetic Timber’s in products we used to manufacture and given 2 years the product failed

Just passing on some facts as the Spin really annoys me.

Cheers

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Welcome to the Community @Bran,

Interesting observations.
Building products for outdoor use in decking are supposed to meet Building Code and Australian Standards for durability. I went to the references I’m most familiar with. Would it be correct to say that the composite processed/manufactured decking boards escape regulation? ‘Engineered timber’ products might be more apt as a marketing label than a label signifying durability. Perhaps Engineered down to a price to meet short term needs.

Consequently with these types of products does the consumer rely solely on the supplier’s warranty. IE Australian Consumer Law with respect to fitness for purpose and durability?

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Thanks Bran,
I’ve only had experience with the Modwood product but your analysis seems to be spot on, in my experience and the experiences related by the other 20 plus 1 star reviewers all follow the same series of problems, after a year or two the product starts breaking down, cracking, warping and splitting. The thing that gets me going is the warranty they offered and continue to offer is 7+ years, but from what I can tell they have never honoured a claim. It’s all just spin. I’ve posted critical but honest comments of their FB and Instagram pages but they delete them within minutes. After my 1 year old review was recently deleted from (supposedly neutral) Product review.com.au , I challenged them on all the new 5 star reviews, which even on a casual look were Modwood agents and installers, which wasn’t disclosed, they took down about 9 of those reviews. I am going to NCAt with a claim and your analysis may help.
So thanks.

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If you are after some background on decking.
There is an Australasian Timber Flooring Association (ATFA). It may serve to discuss your problems with them. Whether your supplier is a member it may also prove useful.

There is an interesting article on page 18 of issue 38 of their regular publication. It concerns the durability of traditional timber decking. What caught my attention.

No specific advice or mention of manufactured composite products such as ‘Modwood’. Durability grades EG F3, F4, F5 etc for treated natural timber’s are established standards. The basic warranties for Modwood and similar composite vary from 7-15 years at a glance. There are exclusions, but all products of this type claim minimal maintenance requirements and high stability of the product as advantages when compared to natural timber.

P.S.
ATFA Consumer Services - Flooring Inspection

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I thought the following service might be of more general interest as it covers both decking and internal flooring. Natural timber and ‘Engineered’ (manufactured composite) products are included in the scope.

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I used it ages ago and ended up replacing with hardwood. I put up my review on product review website after this post and they took it down!

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I assume that you mean that Product Review took it down as businesses reviewed cannot.

Wgat reason did they give you?

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I had my review taken down after it had been up for over 12 months, I had questioned all the new 5 star reviews for Modwood (15) - I suspect that the business, Modwood in this case has a big say in what happens on the review pages. When I followed up and mentioned ACCC they reinstated my review.
I also noticed there are cozy paid commercial arrangements available between Productreview and brands, offering brand protection, promotion, the ability to “pin” favourable reviews so they always appear first etc etc.
There’s also and “Ambassador Programme” where they will get you reviews ( I assume favourable) for your product pre launch, to be used in launch promotions … all this seems to be sailing pretty close to the ACCC winds ?

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