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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.


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.

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.

Don’t stop at Facebook, we have been scammed by fake reviews on trip advisor and Airbnb .
I agree that amazon and eBay sellers are finding ways to circumvent the reviews, and get themselves ‘top seller’ awards, particularly the cheap fashions from China, we stopped buying from China but now find they are using Manchester and other cities they claim the goods are from.
Bought a good looking dress from eBay , it was a rag when it finally arrived from China said it was made in Manchester. Sent it to trading standards but they could not do anything either.

Facebook?? Absolute rubbish! Look at MSE’s founder?? They paid to one of the charity schemes he invented . Wish we had 2 of him about!! But trust Facebook and all the rest as far as you can throw them in a head on gale!!

Allen Thompson says:
15 September 2020

Don not trust Trustpilot. There are companies out there using Trustpilot that report bad reviews to Trustpilot for the most spurious reasons to have them removed and/or “hide” bad reviews by “buying” 5 star reviews. Scroll past the 5 star ones to see the real reviews. The same companies are often offering prize draws or other rewards for a good review.

Tom Molloy says:
16 October 2020

They sounded like advertisements to me. Very ‘selling’.

Deborah Jameson says:
20 October 2020

I left a bad review on Yelp. It didn’t show up anywhere. They were censored. But then I am a Brit just about to leave. Everything about this country is fake. Can you imagine a Electric Company hacking credit cards and bank accounts. Could you imagine Bank Of America clearing a cheque, same No etc. 14 times. I’m buying a bigger house in Spain from my lawsuit.

Who is your lawsuit with? The electricity provider or your bank?

Can you give us more details about what happened?

It is bad news when people are getting miss lead about items they want to buy its bad I t stops me from purchasing anythink online.

Sheila Kirkpatrick says:
16 November 2020

I think this is a brilliant campaign. I bought a washing machine and a dryer from a local independent shop thinking I was supporting them through lockdown and was completely ripped off price wise, not even just by a little bit either. Won’t be doing that again.

As per your article in your latest magazine, I too started to receive unsolicited Amazon parcels. After calling the company they confirmed those orders hadn’t been placed from my account and that I hadn’t been charged. In total I received over 15 parcels, all containing products from China. I was surprised to see on my credit card statement that I had in fact been charged and that it meant that my card details, address and phone number (it appeared on the parcel) had been stolen. I have to give credit to American Express as they reimbursed me straight away. Amazon said they had escalated this incident however I’ve not heard back. Since cancelling my card this has stopped.