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Monday, December 11, 2023

UOKiK on the trail of fake reviews. Polish company with accusations

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The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has launched an investigation into a Polish company that allegedly published false reviews on Google, Facebook and other popular sites for money. A lawsuit could result in a huge fine for the company.

The Competition and Consumer Authority announced the commencement of proceedings and charges against the Polish company Best-Review. This site was supposed to publish reviews en masse without actually testing the products.

Best Review Under the Microscope of the Competition and Consumer Authority. We are talking about fake reviews

According to Tomasz Chrostny, president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Best-Review is accused of misleading consumers. From the company from Leszno, sellers could purchase ready-made positive reviews about their products for publication. The procedure was supposed to take place without actually testing the products or even checking the reliability of the customers. Companies also had direct influence over the content of reviews and comments, and employees of third-party companies often wrote them themselves.

The Best-Review offer was presented on several similar sites. The price list includes, but is not limited to: Google Reviews with and without content, showing only the star rating. The comments appeared on a number of sites used by consumers to purchase goods and services, including: Google Maps, poznalekarz.pl, opineo.pl, dziennikeo.pl, ceneo.pl, nazwa.pl, TripAdvisor, Google Play. The company also generated ratings on Facebook independently.

– Elements that were supposed to support decision-making and review of the proposal, such as opinions or reviews, become areas for violations. The publication of false or distorted opinions is prohibited by law and works to the detriment of not only consumers, but also honest entrepreneurs, emphasizes the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

Best-Review may face serious punishment

As the department reported, punishment for disseminating false information that influences buyers’ decisions can amount to a significant fine – up to 10%. Best-Buy turnover. The final amount will be determined after the investigation.

The Competition and Consumer Authority also reminds that since the beginning of 2023 and the introduction of the Omnibus Directive ensuring transparency in online shopping, the regulator has repeatedly caught companies with false reviews.

In February the fine was 40,000 zlotys. PLN was received by the agency Agenceja City Damian Trzciński, also for trading false reviews. Charges were also brought against J&J Jakub Brożyna, the company that operates the Seosklep24.pl platform. Last year, fines amounted to more than 70,000 zlotys. The companies Opinie.pro and SN Marketing had to pay zlotys for fake reviews.

Designed by: Krzysztof Sobiepan
Source: UOKiK
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