Believing online reviews

By | Category: Travel rumblings
have you written an online review?

have you written an online review?

Regularly, we hear of people leaving negative if not scathingly negative reviews on review sites such as TripAdvisor. Just as regularly we have suggested readers be wary of overly negative or positive reviews as there is evidence to suggest some fairly unscrupulous business people put up reviews criticising rivals or lauding their own establishments.

Now the UK Competition and Markets Authority  (CMA) is investigating. Why? They say that “there are a number of potential concerns about the trustworthiness or impartiality of information in some reviews and endorsements that are being provided to consumers”. Is it churlish to suggest that they have taken a long time to realise this?

Anyone who wishes to comment can do so by going to the CMA’s website link, www.gov.uk/government/consultations/online-reviews-and-endorsements but move quickly as you have only until March 25th to pass on your views. When you get to that page, click on the Consumer Response Form to open that document and leave your comments.

Generally it is accommodation providers who are victims of uninformed reviews and since you can now pay companies overseas to submit reviews to websites for a fee, which ones do you believe? The review sites, themselves, have said that they enforce policing regulations and these certainly stamp out some but how many? That we’ll never know but the situation must have caused sufficient political concern for the CMA to become involved.

The B&B Association held its annual get-together a few weeks ago and it has decided that their members should be encouraged to give their views to the enquiry as to have they have been affected by reviews. David Weston of the association says, “at present there is no way for our members to remove reviews or challenge the individuals behind them, if the websites themselves (as they often do) refuse to remove a false review.”

And when with the CMA provide us with their report so we can judge for ourselves how widespread this habit of false reviews is? Not for some time says the CMA but Just about travel will let you know as soon as the report becomes available.


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