/ Shopping

Why we’ve had enough of fake reviews

Spotted a review that doesn’t look quite right? Does that product’s five-star rating just not stack up? Sign our petition to put a stop to fake reviews.

Earlier this year, we found sellers on online marketplaces and platforms confusing people by posting fake reviews to distort opinion about products and spread misinformation.

Despite telling marketplaces and platforms that there was a problem, it shows no signs of slowing down.

Well, we’ve had enough. Today, we’ve set up a petition calling for action on fake reviews.

We’ve found through several investigations that sellers on online marketplaces such as Amazon are able cheat the system by overloading product listings with fake reviews.

This is the latest in a series of investigations that we have ongoing to uncover the scale of the problem.

The impact on spending

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) estimated that in 2015, around £23 billion of spending was the result of people reading reviews.

With the explosive growth of e-commerce in the last 4 years, it’s now estimated that figure is around £38 billion.

From our analysis and research, of those who believe they received a product of an inferior quality than they were expecting, the spend impacted by fake reviews is around £1.5 billion.

That is a huge amount of consumer spending that is hanging on information that might not be true, genuine or is at the very least outright distorted to present a false impression.

Taking action

Thankfully, the regulator has recognised that there is a problem, too. The CMA recently launched a programme of work aimed at tackling fake and misleading reviews.

As a first step, they told Facebook and eBay to cut them off at the source and remove groups and listings that were encouraging the sale and trade of fake reviews.

Facebook told us it had removed the groups we reported to it, while Amazon said that it invests significant resources to protect the integrity of its reviews.

We think more needs to be done. Online platforms know that this is a problem, but they’re not taking enough proactive steps to ensure that consumers are accessing relevant, correct information about the products they are viewing on their platforms.

We’ve been working undercover for the last year, finding out about what’s happening and how sellers are managing to post these reviews.

A lot of people don’t know that fake reviews exist – these are the people who are most at risk

We want you to join us and support the first steps of our work to stamp out fake reviews.

Have you ever been asked to write a fake review? How many do you think you’ve spotted? Let us know, and support our campaign.

Comments

A review ought to be auditable. IE checked up on?

A thought crossed my mind today looking on Amazon. Displaying phone prices in bold then along side the total price! Crafty or what? We have got to pay the taxed price so why the pre tax price at all?

June says:
3 June 2020

Not able to take the survey, all I am shown is to ask whether I think it is a fake advert.

nina king says:
4 June 2020

Unable to take the survey. The squares are blank

ElisabethnFitzsimmons says:
4 June 2020

Squares are blank so not able to take survey

Hi, it looks like a few people are experiencing problems with the fake reviews survey. Could you let us know which internet browsert you’re using? Thank you!

CMA says:
10 June 2020

Squares are blank – it doesn’t matter what browser I am using,….that’s my choice = another shoddy and no attention to detail item from which,……I really should cancel my subscription,…..

GDM says:
12 June 2020

Like others have said the squares are blank. Surprised this has not been resolved.

Margaret Skellern says:
20 June 2020

Like others, I can’t see the quiz questions

Allan Forrest says:
20 June 2020

Squares not working.

Helen RICHARDSON says:
24 June 2020

Why have a list of questions to get an idea of what members views are, when there are no questions!

edward scaife says:
25 June 2020

I have had the problem of blank squares on several sites ever since Apple updated the operating system of my ipad. The problem is with Apple, not Which. No problems on my desk top system.

MR G S WENTWORTH-WOOD says:
29 June 2020

Doesn’t work on Microsoft Edge, fully up to date. Nothing, no text in the panels.

Thank you to everyone who’s reported this bug to us – it’s now been fixed.