The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has found many shortcomings in presenting consumer opinions in domestic online commerce and has therefore published recommendations for the dissemination of good practices; The agency said in a statement on Wednesday that in one of them it indicates that a merchant’s site cannot select only positive reviews.
GVH, in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC), which includes the European Commission and Member State authorities, examined the presentation of consumer opinions in various sectors – clothing, sporting goods, cosmetics, books, accommodation, travel.
The compilation of European experience for coordinated action is still ongoing, however, based on a quick analysis of local platforms, GVH has identified several errors, such as the fact that only a few traders participate in the compilation of consumer ratings that are not generally known to consumers. It can also be a problem for a merchant to post only a few – usually positive – consumer reviews to promote their service. However, the GVH also found positive examples to follow in its quick analysis, which it included in its proposals.
The agency emphasizes that a trader cannot choose only positive ratings. If a merchant chooses to highlight some positive consumer reviews as a marketing tool on their website, they must provide balanced information. This way, you cannot remain silent if consumers report a less favorable experience with your business, product or service.
GVH also indicated that new provisions on consumer evaluations will be added to the Prohibition of Unfair Trade Practices Against Consumers Act, which will apply from May 28, 2022. From this point on, important information for the product will be how the company, if it chooses to publish consumer reviews, will ensure that Published reviews come from consumers who are already using or buying the product.
In addition, it would be infringing practice for a company to claim that consumers who have actually used or purchased the product have provided a rating of the product, without taking reasonable and proportionate steps to verify that the ratings come from those consumers. It would also be offensive to give false reviews or recommendations to consumers or rely on them to promote products, or misrepresent consumers’ opinions or recommendations in social media.
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