The CMA has published its call for information report on online reviews and endorsements.
Update - 27 July 2017
Airbnb has agreed with the CMA that it will change its online reviews system so guests who choose not to stay where they booked are able to leave reviews more easily.
- Press release: CMA welcomes Airbnb guest review changes
Update - 11 August
The CMA has now concluded 2 further investigations as part of its work on online reviews and endorsements and has obtained undertakings from:
a social media marketing company in connection with undisclosed advertising on social media
an online clothing retailer concerning its failure to publish all genuine, relevant and lawful customer reviews on its website
Update - 17 June 2016
The CMA is continuing to engage with companies operating in the online review and endorsements sectors regarding concerns set out in its call for information report. It is our intention to update on this work by the end of August 2016.
Call for information
19 June 2015: The CMA has found that online reviews and endorsements are proving useful to consumers, but it has concerns that some practices may be unlawful. In the course of its work, the CMA heard about instances of potentially misleading practices:
- fake reviews being posted onto review sites
- negative reviews not being published
- businesses paying for endorsements in blogs and other online articles without this being made clear to consumers
In response, the CMA:
- carried out an investigation using its consumer enforcement powers into a number of companies in connection with the non-disclosure of paid endorsements
- carried out an investigation using its consumer enforcement powers into a search engine optimisation company in connection with potential fake reviews
- carried out work with trusted trader and care home review sites to improve practices
Other concerns that have been raised with the CMA are being assessed to determine whether enforcement action is warranted.
Alongside its report, the CMA has also published advice for businesses on what they need to do to comply with consumer protection law.
- Online and reviews and endorsements findings report (19.6.15)
- Press release: CMA acts to maintain trust in online reviews and endorsements (19.6.15)
- Information for businesses on how to comply with the law (19.6.15)
- Investigation into potential non-disclosure of paid endorsements case page (19.6.15)
- Press release: CMA seeks information on online reviews and endorsements (26.2.15)
Mark Pratt (firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 3738 6663)
Jon Riley (email@example.com, 020 3738 6143)
Senior responsible officer
Nisha Arora (firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 3738 6853)
Published: 26 February 2015
Updated: 17 June 2016
Opened: 26 February 2015
Closed: 27 July 2017
- Update added.
- Call for information report published.
- First published.