The problem of fake online reviews is something that particularly affects insurance brands. Cover is ultimately sold on trust, so false accusations online are a serious issue and IE welcomes the government’s move to clean up review sites.
The problem with this new rule by the government is enforcement, how can review sites be held to account for letting the same anonymous posters place very similar negative or derogatory reviews online? Equally you can easily find the same sort of positive one line reviews, such as `saved me money, got me a great deal,’ type of thing and you wonder if some companies are encouraging their staff to post using fake accounts.
How to regulate review sites, while maintaining some degree of privacy for the reviewers taking time to post, is the bigger question. IE doesn’t see how anyone can prove that payment was made to write a review, without an expensive Police investigation. Here’s some thoughts from Smart Money People;
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announced on 20 April 2022 that as part of its reforms of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (‘CPRs’), it will make it illegal to pay someone to write or host a fake review. Jacqueline Dewey, CEO, of Smart Money People, the UK’s largest consumer reviews and insights platform dedicated to the financial services industry, shared her thoughts:
“The damage caused by fake reviews is far-reaching, impacting both consumers and the companies being written about, which is why we’re wholeheartedly welcoming the new legislation. We know that nine out of ten customers read reviews before buying a product and many people trust those reviews as much as they would trust a friend’s recommendation, so it’s critical that these are genuine.
“It becomes even more important when the purchase is a financial product. Unlike checking the rating of a restaurant, or before buying an item of clothing, the impact of making a bad decision when purchasing a financial product can be much more significant because the costs are higher and the customer is often tied in for a long period of time.
“It’s because of this that Smart Money People already has processes in place to validate customers leaving reviews. We also undertake further checks to identify suspicious patterns of reviews, and have the ability to remove or quarantine reviews whilst investigations are undertaken to verify any queries.
“We keenly await the details behind the new legislation to understand what more can be done to protect all parties from fake and harmful reviews.”