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Misleading Service Reviews

Another platform gets into trouble over customer reviews as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) started proceeding against Service Seeking last week.

The regulator alleges that 80 per cent of the reviews on the website were not written by consumers.

The platform where ‘tradespeople’ can quote and book jobs, emailed proposed reviews to consumers as part of their ‘Fastback’ feature and if they did not respond within three days with a ‘self-written review, the proposed review was then published on the website.

“We allege that Service Seeking’s conduct gave businesses a chance to effectively rate and review themselves without any input from the customer,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Businesses are warned that online reviews need to accurately reflect the independent views and feedback of genuine customers or the business risks breaching the Australian Consumer Law”.

This Fastback feature first became available for business to use in 2016, which is around the same time that the ACCC was taking action against the Meriton Serviced Apartments for breaching TripAdvisor’s terms of use, by emailing review prompts only to consumers that they knew would give them a favourable review.

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