04
Jul

Guidelines issued for those involved in online reviews

The International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) has issued a set of guidelines for those involved in the collection, moderation and publication of online reviews and endorsements. 

Consumers use online reviews when deciding whether to buy products and services, for example, when booking travel accommodation. It is important that consumers can trust the reviews and endorsements they use to help them when making these buying decisions.

Three sets of guidelines have been published:

  1. Guidelines for Review Administrators – these state that administrators need to
    1. Be equal and fair in the collection of reviews
    2. Be alert and proactive in the moderation of reviews, and
    3. Be transparent in the publication of reviews
  2. Guidelines for Traders and Marketing Professionals – these state that traders and marketing professionals need to
    1. Ensure they do not prevent consumers from seeing the whole picture of genuine, relevant and lawful reviews
    2. Ensure they do not write, commission or publish fake reviews
    3. Ensure paid-for content is disclosed, and
    4. Ensure other relevant commercial relationships are disclosed
  3. Guidelines for Digital Influencers (covering bloggers, vloggers, tweeters and all other contributors to online publications) – these state that digital influencers need to
    1. Disclose, clearly and prominently, whether content has been paid for
    2. Be open about other commercial relationships that might be relevant to the content, and
    3. Give genuine views on markets, businesses, goods or services

These guidelines provide general principles for market participants to follow but are not a substitute for professional legal advice. It is against consumer protection laws to mislead consumers about a product.

The ICPEN is an informal network of consumer protection law enforcement authorities representing 60 global economies. The CCPC is a member of ICPEN.  For more information, visit www.icpen.org

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