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Parliamentary questions
7 August 2018
E-003093/2018
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the European Commission

The Commission shares the concerns related to fake or manipulated customer reviews. The guidance document prepared by the Commission services in relation to Directive 2005/29/EC on unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market (‘the UCPD’)(1) indicates that online platforms, in accordance with Article 6(1)(b) and Article 7(4)(a) of the directive, must not mislead their users as to the origin of the reviews.

For this purpose platforms using user review tools should avoid creating the impression that reviews posted originate from real users if they cannot adequately ensure this. If they explicitly claim that the reviews originate from users, platforms should take reasonable and proportionate steps to increase the likelihood that such reviews reflect real users’ experiences.

Such steps could include for example verifying the reliability of the person posting a review by requesting him/her to register; verifying the IP address used to submit the review; requiring information by which the person acknowledges to have actually used the object of the review (e.g. a booking number).

The REFIT Fitness Check of horizontal EU consumer and marketing law(2) did not find robust evidence that would have prompted the Commission to propose additional specific legislation on user review tools. Instead, emphasis should be put on strengthened enforcement of existing rules which falls within the competence of the Member States. In case of widespread infringements, Member States, supported by the Commission, coordinate enforcement actions within the framework of the regulation on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws (CPC Regulation(3)).

(1)SWD(2016)163 final of 25.5.2016, Section 5.2.8.
(2)Published in May 2017, http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/item-detail.cfm?item_id=59332
(3)Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004, as revised and replaced by Regulation (EU) No 2017/2394 with effect from 17 January 2020

Last updated: 8 August 2018Legal notice