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10 June 2016 0 Comments
Posted in Corporate & Commercial, Opinion

Competition and Markets Authority publishes new guidance on online reviews and endorsements

Posted by , Solicitor

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recently published an open letter to marketing agents and their clients.

This follows the CMA’s investigation into how online reviews and endorsements are being used, and whether this use complies with consumer protection laws. The CMA’s letter offers guidance on two areas of concern:

  1. Clearly labelling or identifying paid promotions. Businesses should ensure that it is obvious to readers when articles or blogs feature paid promotions, by clearly identifying or labelling paid promotions, providing clear instructions to marketing agencies, and ensuring that all policies on paid promotions reflect the requirements of consumer protection law. Marketing agencies should follow the same rules. Requests for paid promotions that do not meet these requirements should be turned down.
  2. Writing, commissioning and publishing fake reviews. Businesses should not offer inducements to customers in return for positive reviews, and not pretend to be a customer and write fake reviews. If customers are invited to provide feedback this must be done honestly, as misleading readers may breach consumer protection laws.

The CMA has already produced a brief guide for businesses and marketing agencies on how to comply with consumer protection laws in relation to online endorsements and online review:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/online-reviews-and-endorsements-advice-for-businesses/online-reviews-giving-consumers-the-full-picture

This guidance highlights that whilst it is perfectly legal to market products through blogs, videos and other online resources, it is important that this is done in accordance with consumer protection law.

For more information or for a review of your business’s terms and conditions to ensure that they comply with current legal requirements and best practice contact Natalie Pring or another member of our Corporate & Commercial team.

01225 459 982     Email usnatalie.pring@roydswithyking.com

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