The watchdog is finally baring its teeth on a hugely important issue for consumers that has not been properly addressed for years: fake reviews.
A fine of 10 per cent of global turnover for those that fall foul is a big deal. This would be devastating for businesses who can’t possibly control what gets posted on an open reviews platform, even if they can control what’s on their websites.
It’s still unclear who is accountable: the platforms hosting the reviews or the businesses themselves? The platforms that gather, process and authenticate reviews should be the ones responsible for verifying reviews or labelling whether they’re from a verified buyer. They can easily substantiate this, so there is no excuse for not having strict verification processes in place.
It could be months, or even years, before these measures are passed in Parliament as part of the Consumer and Competition Bill. We need to act fast, following in the EU’s footsteps on this. Next month, the EU’s Better Enforcement and Modernisation Directive is being introduced banning businesses from using reviews that aren’t left by a verified customer. UK consumers deserve the same level of protection.