Customer Review websites, online testimonials and social media platforms can provide a helpful and easy way for consumers to compare products and make informed decisions. Unfortunately, these tools can also be used by businesses to provide ‘fake’ feedback, dishonestly self-promote or damage competitors.
This week, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has taken aim at those that misuse online review platforms and has published new guidelines called “Online Reviews – Guide for Business & Review Platforms”.
The Guidelines deal with issues such as:
- The responsibilities of website owners when publishing online reviews including tips on how to how to detect and deal with fake reviews;
- A website’s obligation to disclose commercial arrangements that might impact on the independence of its online reviews;
- Recommendations as to how a website operator can deal with businesses that have received negative reviews;
- The legal issues associated with engaging ‘customers’ to provide reviews for your business; and
- How a business can deal with fake reviews on its products
It’s important for all businesses to remember that posting or publishing fake reviews or testimonials online is likely to be in breach of the Australian Consumer Law. In an earlier blog, we provided 6 simple steps that you can take to ensure that your business tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth when dealing with customers, other businesses and the general public.
If your business uses online reviews and testimonials as part of its strategy to attract customers and you are unsure whether your practices comply with the Australian Consumer Law, please feel free to get in touch with us.
For further information, please contact the author.
This article is posted in Adelaide, South Australia by Tri-meridian Corporate & Commercial Law and is intended to be used as a guide only. It is not, and is not intended to be, advice on any specific matter. We do not accept responsibility for any acts or omissions resulting from reliance upon the content of this article. Before acting on the basis of any material in this article, we recommend that you consult your professional adviser.