Customer reviews described as “malicious” and “fake” have left an estate agent feeling “bruised”.

Iain Bainbridge, who runs Scott Bainbridge Residential Sales and Lettings in Kendal, says several negative testimonials posted on Google were written by people he has no record of dealing with.

He said a “barrage” of negative comments had brought his Market Place-based company’s five-star rating down to an average of 3.5.

“I feel a bit bruised by it,” said Mr Bainbridge, who set up the business with wife Hannah seven years ago. 

“I can’t prove who is behind it, but I suspect.

“If these were genuine customers disappointed with the service, that would be different, we could rectify it. There’s been some concerted attempt to undermine things.”

Of 26 testimonials on Google, Mr Bainbridge said all the clients he had a record of dealing with posted five-star reviews. 

Among those he believes might be fake is one who described the Kendal agency as “absolutely dreadful”. 
Another claimed “first impressions were terrible”, and another criticised its opening hours.

Mr Bainbridge has responded to critical reviewers via Google, inviting them to call him if they “genuinely want to discuss things”.

He said he has not contacted Google as he could not prove the reviews were fake.

The agency is a member of the government-authorised Property Redress Scheme, which gives customers an escalated complaints procedure if they are unhappy with how an agent has handled a complaint. 

Mr Bainbridge said none of the critical reviewers had contacted the scheme.