The Competition & Markets Authority has found that online reviews and endorsements are proving useful to consumers, but it has concerns that some practices may be unlawful. In a report published today it estimates that more than half of UK adults (54%) use online reviews, and that 6% use blogs or vlogs before making purchases.
Most buyers who used reviews and endorsements found that the product or service they bought matched up to their expectations.
However, the CMA has also heard about instances of potentially misleading practices:
- fake reviews being posted onto review sites
- negative reviews not being published
- businesses paying for endorsements in blogs and other online articles without this being made clear to consumers
In response, the CMA has opened an investigation using its consumer enforcement powers into a number of companies in connection with the potential non-disclosure of paid endorsements. Other concerns that have been raised with the CMA are being assessed to determine whether enforcement action is warranted.
The CMA has also produced information for businesses explaining what they need to do to help them comply with the law, alongside a comprehensive report on its findings.