Fake online reviews under investigation by competition authority

It said it would examine whether online shops were It said it would examine whether online shops were "doing enough" to protect customers as they turn to online shopping during lockdown.

The authority warned it would "not hesitate" to take action if sites are disobeying the law.

That could include taking major retailers to court.

"During lockdown, we're more dependent than ever on online shopping, so it's really important that the online reviews we read are genuine opinions," said CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

"If someone is persuaded to buy something after reading a fake or misleading review, they could end up wasting their money on a product or service that wasn't what they wanted."

Some reviewers

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But fake and misleading reviews are illegal under consumer protection law - which bans traders from pretending to be consumers of their own products, for example. The CMA holds websites responsible for adhering to the rules.

Last year the CMA estimated that estimated that online reviews potentially influence £23bn ($28bn) of UK customer spending every year.

The new investigation will cover areas such as:

The CMA declined to name the specific websites it was investigating, but highlighted previous discussions with Facebook, eBay and Instagram on the topic.

It said Instagram had committed to tackling the market for fake reviews on its platform.

The CMA had also found the buying and selling of fake reviews in Facebook groups and on eBay.

Read the full story at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-52771913

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