As online shopping has widened our choices, it has also multiplied our sources of information. But much of this new information is misleading, making it harder and harder to know who to trust.
Fake reviews deliberately manipulate your choices, obscuring the real facts about a product or service you’re buying.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) estimates that a staggering £23bn a year of UK consumer spending is now influenced by online customer reviews, so this is a huge issue.
Our investigations have uncovered thousands of fake reviews. From smartwatches to headphones, hotels to restaurants, dodgy sellers are trying to dupe you into buying their product or service.
These fraudulent endorsements cost you time and money. They can also mislead you about the quality and safety of the products you’re buying.
Review sites warning
In a win for the campaign, Facebook and Ebay agreed in January to take action on fake reviews after we exposed hundreds of listings of fake reviews for sale in their sites.
Following warnings from the Competitions and Market Authority (CMA), Facebook and Ebay pledged to put measures in place to combat the trading of fake reviews on their sites.
But we’re not stopping there. We’ve repeatedly exposed evidence of fake reviews on Amazon and on popular review sites, such as Trip Advisor, that risk duping shoppers into buying shoddy goods and services.
We’re calling on the CMA to investigate how fake reviews are being used to manipulate online shoppers – and take the strongest possible action against sites that fail to tackle this problem.
Make them act
The thing about fake reviews is that they look just like the real ones. And like fake news, it can be impossible to tell them from the real thing.
You shouldn’t be burdened with verifying a fact from a fake when you buy online. That’s why we’re demanding:
- Shopping and review sites do more to prevent fake reviews from being posted and detect and remove fake reviews that do appear.
- The CMA urgently launch the second phase of their investigation and hold these sites accountable for stamping out fake reviews.
- Social media platforms crackdown on groups that promote fake review writing.
Companies like Amazon, Trip Advisor and Facebook have a responsibility to their customers to ensure information on their sites can be trusted – and that fake reviewers can’t operate on them.
That’s why we’re demanding big online shopping platforms, social media giants and review sites stamp out fake reviews.
Will you join us? Sign the petition.