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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
Arthur Pint says:
17 September 2021

Fake reviews are a big problem with the big name players like Amazon and Google but care needs to be taken with much smaller business sites and review sites as well.

I joined a national business venture as an area operator a while back and out of the blue during the setup process I started receiving ‘likes’ from people I had never heard of in other countriesi have no connection with. The business had clearly paid for a job lot of false likes to falsely boost my credibility (cheap and easy to do)
The main business website also did and still contains misleading reviews. I know this through knowing of some of the people involved.

One of the big name review websites also contained apparently false reviews in favour of the business. It was obvious by the measures that the which article highlights … a positive reviews posted in short span of time for a business that just doesn’t move at that pace. Critical reviews were removed presumably on the say so of the business itself.

Due to such unscrupulous behaviour I left the business at considerable loss to myself, but it is clear that this is a big problem at all levels that needs to be dealt with… it is everywhere!

Unfortunately the internet and social media is a huge amplifier for channeling volumes of false and misleading information into the brains of the unsuspecting masses and it needs to be moderated or better stamped out!

So Beware at all times and always do your own independent analysis .. time consuming and a pain that it is. I for one am starting to hate online shopping more and more. It’s often becoming more of a pain as time passes. It shouldn’t be this way.

I fully support this which.co.uk initiative.

Amazon has gone terrible for fake reviews it definitely needs to change