Fake reviews to be made illegal

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to be given enhanced powers that will make it illegal to pay someone to write a fake review.  The new powers mean it will be able to enforce consumer law and code of conduct replacing the need to go through a court process. The powers include being able to fine firms up to 10% of their global turnover for mistreating customers and up to £300,000 in the case of an individual.

Fake reviews will be tackled by a new law against commissioning someone to write or submit a fake review, hosting consumer reviews without taking reasonable steps to check they are genuine, and offering or advertising to submit, commission or facilitate fake reviews.

Today’s announcement follows the ‘reforming competition and consumer policy’ consultation that launched last year. The new measures will come into effect following parliamentary approval.

In response to the news UKHospitality Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls, said, “We welcome these moves, which will help create a more level playing field for both businesses and consumers. In particular, we recognise that enhanced powers for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will help stamp out the practice of fake reviews, which do irreparable damage to businesses. We therefore believe it is imperative that online review platforms be required to act and remove malicious and false reviews where appropriate.

“As ever, the devil will be in the detail and so we will be actively engaging in the consultation process in order that consumers are safeguarded without placing any further unnecessary burdens on businesses. We need also be satisfied that the new CMA powers will not unfairly punish businesses and, as 70% of hospitality businesses are SMEs, that a clear right of appeal is put in place that is accessible to operators big and small.

“Fairness for both businesses and consumers, particularly when it comes to offering refunds, will be crucial and any new measures must also be made in the context of a sector facing an onslaught of challenges after a difficult two years. Soaring costs, chronic staff shortages and plunging consumer confidence continue to affect the sector, which needs ongoing support if it is to play its full role in the UK’s recovery.”

 

Category: News
Tags: cma, Competition and Markets Authority, Fake reviews, Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality