Government to make it a crime for companies to write fake reviews for any product or service
- Business such as online shops, hotels and restaurants will face fines if caught
- Sites like Amazon and Trustpilot must take ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent fraud
- In 2020 we found that as many as half of all five-star online reviews are phoney
Fake reviews on websites are to be banned under new laws announced this week.
The Government is to make it a crime for companies to write a fake review for any product or service – with online shops, hotels and restaurants hit with fines if caught taking part in this fraud.
The tough new regulations will also demand that websites which allow other sellers to post reviews – such as Amazon, Tripadvisor and Trustpilot – take ‘reasonable steps’ to crack down on rogue traders.
Crackdown: The Government is to make it a crime for companies to write a fake review for any product or service
It will be policed by the Competition and Markets Authority.
The Mail on Sunday has long called for such fraudsters to be outlawed – after we uncovered evidence in June 2020 indicating that as many as half of all five-star online reviews are phoney.
For companies, good reviews are like gold dust as nine out of ten shoppers admit to being influenced by positive reviews.
Not everyone believes the rules go far enough. Tony Wheble, chief executive of reviews platform Feefo, says: ‘People spend £900 a year based on reviews and should be able to trust that everything published comes from someone genuine who experienced that product or service. Issuing fines after the event is not enough.’
The ban will be announced on Tuesday as part of a Consumer and Competition Bill. The changes are set to become law in the autumn.