Online Reviews – What You Need To Know
Almost every commercial interaction now comes with a request from the provider requesting a testimonial. Often these testimonials are published online across a variety of channels – from review websites such as TripAdvisor and Google to social media platforms.
What many businesses and brands may not be aware of, is the ACCC’s requirement to keep testimonials genuine. Failing to do so means that businesses will be left exposed to legal hot water under the Australian Consumer Law.
Best practice guidelines published by the ACCC set out three core principles to help businesses comply with Australian Consumer Law:
- Be transparent about commercial relationships;
- Don’t publish or post misleading reviews; and
- Omitting or editing negative reviews may be misleading.
The ACCC has previously taken action against companies for posting fake and misleading customer testimonials and has indicated its intention to continue to do so.
Real Case Study
A removalist created a review website, www.movingreview.com.au, and used fake testimonials posed as genuine consumer testimonials – fake positive testimonials about its own services and fake negative testimonials about the services of its competitors. The removalist also wrote fake testimonials posed as genuine consumer testimonials on third party review websites.
The removalist paid a $6600 infringement notice and provided a court enforceable undertaking.
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