The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has started an investigation into a Polish company that allegedly published false reviews on Google, Facebook and other popular websites for money. The proceedings may end with a huge fine for the company.
The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection announced the commencement of proceedings and filing charges against the Polish company Best-Review. This one was supposed to publish review content en masse without actually checking the products.
Best-Review under the microscope of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. It’s about fake reviews
As Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, says, Best-Review is accused of misleading consumers. From the company from Leszno, sellers could purchase ready-made, positive reviews of their products for publication. The procedure was supposed to take place without actually testing the products or even checking the reliability of the clients. Companies also had a direct influence on the content of reviews and comments, and employees of external companies often wrote them themselves.
The Best-Review offer was presented on several similar websites. The price list included, among others: Google reviews with and without content, with just giving a star rating. The comments appeared on a number of websites used by consumers to purchase goods and services, including: Google Maps, poznalekarz.pl, opineo.pl, dziennikeo.pl, ceneo.pl, nazwa.pl, TripAdvisor, Google Play. Independently, the company also generated ratings on Facebook.
– Elements that were supposed to provide support in making decisions and verifying the offer, such as opinions or reviews, are becoming a field of violations. Posting false or distorted opinions is prohibited by law and works not only to the detriment of consumers, but also of honest entrepreneurs – emphasizes the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
Best-Review may face a big punishment
As announced by the Office, the penalty for spreading false information influencing buyers’ decisions may be a significant fine, up to 10%. Best-Buy turnover. Its final amount will be determined after an investigation.
The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection also reminds that since the beginning of 2023 and the introduction of the Omnibus directive ensuring transparency of online purchases, the regulator has repeatedly caught companies with false reviews.
In February, a fine of PLN 40,000. PLN was received by Agencja City Damian Trzciński, also for trading in false reviews. Charges were also brought against J&J Jakub Brożyna, the company running the Seosklep24.pl platform. Last year, fines amounted to over PLN 70,000. The companies Opinie.pro and SN Marketing had to pay PLN for fake reviews.