Copenhagen, London, New York – 30 November 2017 – As part of a drive to ensure consumer interests are protected, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has moved to take action against Meriton Property Services, trading as ‘Meriton Serviced Apartments’, for intentionally trying to minimise negative online reviews.
Following ACCC initiated proceedings against Meriton Property Services, the Federal Court found that from November 2014 to October 2015, Meriton engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by taking steps to prevent guests it suspected would give an unfavourable review from receiving TripAdvisor’s ‘Review Express’ prompt email.
ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said, “In reducing the chances of a customer posting a negative review, Meriton created a more positive or favourable impression of the quality or amenity of the Meriton properties on the TripAdvisor website.”
She continued, “many consumers base their purchasing decisions on reviews they get through sites like TripAdvisor. It’s therefore vital the reviews on these review sites are not manipulated and accurately reflect all customers’ opinions – the good and the bad.”
In another case, also following ACCC initiated proceedings, the residential building company, Aveling, was ordered by the federal court to pay penalties of $380,000 for misleading review websites. ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims said:
“Companies publishing customer reviews online must be clear with consumers whether or not they accurately reflect the full range of consumer feedback – the good and the bad.”
Trustpilot’s General Counsel and Head of Trust and Transparency, Kasper Heine, commented, “We welcome the ACCC’s active oversight of the industry and its focus on identifying misuse of review platforms by businesses and other actors. The court rulings should serve as a warning for any business seeking to misuse or abuse a review platform. Not only does the industry itself have measures in place, authorities too are treating such issues with the seriousness they deserve. We therefore encourage authorities in other markets to follow the example set out by the rulings.”
Trustpilot is a global online review community bringing the power of trust and transparency to the Internet economy. The company empowers consumers to make smarter purchasing decisions while enabling companies to grow their brands by harnessing the power of consumer reviews. With more than 37 million reviews of 190,000 businesses, Trustpilot has offices in Copenhagen, London, New York, Denver, Berlin, Vilnius and Melbourne with about 600 employees representing more than 40 different nationalities. For more information, visit www.trustpilot.com