Several clients have expressed concern about the damage of negative reviews that they believe were ‘planted’ by unscrupulous competitors (even a bitter Ex in one case) There just didn’t seem to be a way to persuade the ‘review platform’ to have these removed, but that is now being addressed by the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
ACCC’s new section on Advertising and Promoting your Business places a level of accountability on the reviewing business and also the ‘review platform’ as outlined in this extract:
- If your business or the ‘review platform’ are aware a review is fake then they are breaching the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
- Reviews may mislead consumers if they are presented as impartial, but were written by:
- the reviewed business
- a competitor
- someone paid to write the review who has not used the product
- someone who has used the product but written an inflated review to receive a financial or non-financial benefit.
- The ACCC considers conduct such as the following to be misleading. You should not:
- encourage family and friends to write reviews about your business without disclosing their personal connection with your business in that review
- write reviews when you have not experienced the good or service reviewed or which do not reflect a genuinely held opinion
- solicit others to write reviews about your business or a competitor’s business if they have not experienced the good or service.
ACCC also provides these related references:
- What you need to know about: Online reviews – A guide for business and review platforms
- Online product reviews (for consumers)
- Making a Consumer complaint