To protect consumers from being misled, Which? is urging the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to take action to stop the sites peddling fake reviews. Online platforms, including Amazon, should also do more to prevent bogus commendations infiltrating their sites, it argued.
Widespread Fake Reviews
Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, said: “More people are shopping online than ever before due to the coronavirus crisis – yet our latest research shows that Amazon is facing an uphill struggle against a relentless and widespread fake reviews industry geared towards misleading consumers.
“The regulator must crack down on bad actors and hold sites to account if they fail to keep their users safe. If it is unable to do so, the government must urgently strengthen online consumer protections.
“Amazon, and other online platforms, must do more to proactively prevent fake reviews infiltrating their sites so that consumers can trust the integrity of their reviews.”
An Amazon spokesman said: “We remove fake reviews and take action against anyone involved in abuse. We have won dozens of injunctions against providers of fake reviews across Europe and we won’t shy away from taking legal action. However, Amazon and other online retailers cannot do this alone.”
“Customers need to be able to trust the reviews they see online and the systematic manipulation of reviews needs consistent enforcement and global coordination with stronger enforcement powers given to regulators against bad actors. We continue to work to protect the authenticity of customer reviews.”
“We advise customers who doubt the credibility of a review on a product to click the ‘report abuse’ link available below each review. We will then investigate and take necessary measures.”
What Does This Mean for Small Businesses Selling On Retail Sites?
Well, this issue has been around for years, and perhaps it’s now more prevalent because of the rise and rise of sites like Amazon and peoples desire to make money fast in the current economic climate.
There is no easy solution, but trying to make the reviews as personable as possible is a great start. If someone is dealing with an individual regarding a service it’s best to talk about what the problem was before that person helped them and how it’s made their lives better.
If it’s products that they’ve received, possibly one of the only ways they can do it is to be seen using that device or product in a personable video or Zoom call recording.
It is a tough one, but as a small business owner, we know you rely on word of mouth, it’s how you can prove and show that every review you have for your product or service is 100% genuine and make that a real, tangible value for you and your business.