Is it Legal for Me to Post a Good Review of my Business?

One of the best ways to market your business is to have good reviews. In some industries and countries, consumers shop based on reviews and with the rise of e-commerce, they have become an imperative aspect of online shopping. However, there have been instances where businesses post reviews about themselves or pay others to write good reviews for them. In this article, we explain whether it is legal for you to post a good review of your business. 

What is a review?

In the context of businesses, a review is an evaluation of a company, their services, brand, or products. Many of these evaluations are posted online either on the business’s website or on a review platform. Reviews tend to focus on the quality of a product or service, how the product or service was delivered, and the company’s approach to customers generally.

Why are they important?

Consumers are increasingly relying on reviews before purchasing. Online reviews and review platforms allow consumers to access a range of reflections, opinions and views on brands, products and services. Not only is this a way to ensure that they are paying for something that works, but are also informing others. 

So, is it legal for me to post a good review of my business?

No, you should not post reviews about your own business.

According to the Australian Competitions and Consumer Commission (ACCC), a business must not write or commission reviews on their own business. When consumers see a review about your business, they will generally believe that this is a genuine reflection by someone who has experience with your business, products or services. It does not mean that you can’t encourage others to write reviews about you. Instead, you are allowed to ask your friends or family to write reviews if you disclose your business’s personal connection with them. 

However, a business should not ask someone to write a review when that person has never used their goods, services or ever had some contact with the brand. The reason for this is, there is a high risk that those reviews are not genuine and most likely fake or misleading. Misleading, false or ingenuine reviews will contravene the Australian Consumer Law. If you are providing incentives for others to write reviews, the ACCC suggests that you should:

  1. offer the same incentives to consumers regardless of whether they provide positive or negative reviews; and
  2. you should disclose to consumers who rely on these reviews that you gave incentives to write this particular review. 

What makes a review legal?

Here are some factors to consider for both businesses and consumers: 

1. Genuine reviews 

A review is genuine when a consumer has experience with your business and holds an opinion about your business, brand, products or services from that experience.

2. Fake or misleading reviews

If you do not remove reviews that you know are fake, you may risk contravening the Competitions and Consumer Act 2010. Misleading reviews can come from consumers who have never used your business or its product/ services, or you pay someone who has written an inflated review. You should either remove these or disclose, e.g. that you have paid that person to write a review. 

Am I allowed to edit or omit bad review of my business?

According to the ACCC, removing reviews, particularly negative ones, can be misleading to consumers. Understandably, you would want to remove any negative perceptions about your business for marketing reasons. However, eliminating these reviews does not truly reflect your business as a whole and the experience of your customers. As a result, this can mislead future consumers. 

Need further assistance?

If you know that some of your business reviews are fake, you should take steps to remove them. Suppose you have concerns or would like to clarify anything about your business reviews. In that case, we recommend you seek advice from our lawyers

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