Consumers dubious about rave reviews online have every right to be sceptical, a new European Commission analysis has found – with nearly two-thirds of scrutinised websites revealing doubts about their veracity.
Together with a number of national consumer authorities, the Commission analysed 223 major websites for misleading consumer reviews. Consumer reviews are a proven way of reaching new and existing customers, research has shown in recent years.
US online survey expert firm Qualtrics revealed in 2020 that 93% of consumers are influenced by online reviews, while 91% of younger people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. However, glowing reviews are in many cases too good to be true, the Commission’s research found.
“Almost two-thirds of the online shops, marketplaces, booking websites, search engines and comparison service sites analysed triggered doubts about the reliability of the reviews.
In 144 out of the 223 websites checked, authorities could not confirm that these traders were doing enough to ensure that reviews are authentic, ie that they were posted by consumers that actually used the product or service that they reviewed.
Other findings included 118 websites that did not contain information about how fake reviews are prevented.
“In these cases, consumers have no possibility to