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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.

Elizabeth Richardson says:
22 December 2020

Please let consumers know that the ‘BedLinen Shop’ is selling shoddy goods and have false reviews.
I purchased a king size bedding set in ‘Silk’ from them for the Sale price of £179.00 previously£269.00.
It was cheap and nasty, was too small for the bed and not the ‘Silver’ colour advertised, rather is was brownish cream with brown stitching and cheap cotton white background. I asked to return it, they asked for photos, I sent them, they said send it back and say it’s worth 100 Bhat (£1:00) and that I would lose £49 postage; they are in Thailand but advertise as an English company. I took the item to the Post Office and it was going to cost me £83.76 to send it back, it wasn’t worth doing and I think they rely on this happening, I see they are still advertising and have reduced their ‘Reviews’ to 4.8 I have written them many times since I asked for a refund I have not had any response. So I’ve lost my money and they are still selling counterfeit goods taking hard earned money from the public in GB, Australia, Canada, USA and other countries round the world.. someone should stop them.
Thank you

Wunmi Austen says:
Today 13:23

I had been a shopper on Amazon for some years now and I always read reviews thoroughly before making a purchase.

I have sInce found out to my utter disappointment that most of these reviews are fake!