The Government is proposing a package of reforms to ensure the UK has a ‘best in class’ competition regime. This includes hefty penalties which would make it automatically illegal to pay someone to write, or host, fake reviews.
“The UK’s economic recovery relies on the strength of our open markets and consumers’ faith in them.
By delivering on our commitment to bolster our competition regime, we’re giving businesses confidence that they’re competing on fair terms, and the public confidence they’re getting a good deal.”
– Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary
The new reforms would allow the CMA to:
- Impose stronger penalties for companies that don’t comply with its investigations or orders, with new powers for fixed penalties of up to 5% of annual turnover and additional daily penalties up to 5% of daily turnover while non-compliance continues
- Disqualify company directors who make false declarations to the regulator
- Accept voluntary binding commitments from businesses at any stage in its investigations, rather than having to wait till the end – leading to quicker outcomes and reduced costs for both businesses and the regulator
- Block a wider range of harmful mergers, including so-called ‘killer acquisitions’ where big businesses snap up prospective rivals before they can launch new services or products
This is a serious deterrent – 5% of global turnover as a fine and an additional daily 5% of turnover for every day a fake review remains on a website would be a maximum rather than a default but the threat of fines at this level will certainly make website owners and marketplaces pay attention.
What are fake reviews?
There is of course a question as to how we defines fake reviews. Certainly we can all agree that if a consumer purchases a product and of their own free will (or prompted by a request from the platform) leaves a review that can be good, b
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