Around 2/3 of ecommerce stores trigger doubts over the reliability of consumer reviews, according to new research by the European Commission.
Of 223 websites that were analyzed, authorities couldn’t confirm whether 144 online businesses were doing enough to ensure authentic reviews.
The research was carried out with the help of the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC), which is a network of authorities responsible for consumer protection laws of the European Union (EU).
The issue of fake reviews is an important one because more than 70% of consumers rely on reviews when it comes to booking holiday accommodation. In terms of younger people, an incredible 91% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This makes reviews crucial to ecommerce.
The websites that they checked included ecommerce stores, marketplaces, booking websites, search engines, and comparison sites.
“Consumers very often rely on online reviews when shopping or booking online,” said Didier Reynders, Commission for Justice. “I don’t want consumers to be tricked. I want them to be able to interact in a trustworthy environment. I insist on one specific point: online businesses must provide consumers with clear and visible information on the reliability of such reviews.
“Today’s results are a clear call for action. We will ensure EU law is respected.”
Of the websites analyzed, 104 don’t inform users how reviews are collected, processed, and published. Just 84 websites mentioned this information on the review page itself, while the others put it in small print in their legal terms and conditions sections.
It’s too often the case that consumers don’t even have the ability to authenticate reviews. Half of the websites analyzed didn’t contain information about how it stops fake reviews.
In their conclusion, they declared that 55% of the analyzed websites violated the EU’s Unfair Commerce Practices Directive, which requires websites to present accurate information to consumers so that they can make informed decisions.
This is even more pertinent because in May, new legislation will make it illegal to sell, buy, and submit false consumer reviews in order to promote products.