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  • Kyle Chua

UK Looks To Ban Buying, Selling, Hosting of Fake Reviews

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

The U.K. wants to better protect consumers from being deceived or misled by fake reviews.

Wix
Credit: Wix

According to the BBC, the country's government is introducing the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill, which cracks down on the buying, selling and hosting of fake reviews.


While the details aren't final yet, the current draft proposes to make it illegal for someone to offer to submit a fake review in exchange for money or free goods. It also makes it illegal for companies to commission people to submit fake reviews or host reviews that haven't been checked to be genuine.


The bill also cracks down on so-called subscription traps, which describe services that make it difficult for consumers to opt out of their contracts. As part of the new bill, companies will be required to send consumers reminders when the free trials or introductory offers of their subscriptions are ending. They then have to enable consumers to exit their contracts in a "straightforward, cost-effective and timely way".

Wix
Credit: Reuters

Lawmakers said the bill will enable U.K. competition authorities to prevent a small number of tech companies having market dominance over consumers and businesses in the country, though no specific company was named. Any company that breaches any part of the bill, regardless of where they are based, could stand to face multibillion-pound fines. This means even companies headquartered in China, if found to be part of the scope, can be held accountable. Tech companies are also required to be more transparent by opening up their data to rival search engines and disclosing how their review systems work.


Oversight of the tech companies will reportedly be handled by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which will reportedly also have the power to open up a specific market depending on the situation. The CMA can also issue fines of up to 10% of global turnover, and it won't be required to have a court order to enforce consumer law.


"The new laws we're delivering today will empower the CMA to directly enforce consumer law, strengthen competition in digital markets, and ensure that people across the country keep hold of their hard-earned cash," said Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake.


The bill is expected to be approved by parliament and become law by next year, and could be enforced as soon as possible.

 
  • The U.K. government is introducing the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill, which cracks down on the buying, selling and hosting of fake reviews.

  • The bill also cracks down on so-called subscription traps, which describe services that make it difficult for consumers to opt out of their contracts.

  • It's expected to be approved by parliament and become law by next year, and could be enforced as soon as possible.














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