UK Government working on policy to make fake online reviews illegal

The Government of UK is reportedly working on a plan to crack down on the increasing phenomenon of online rip-offs and stop consumers from being misled. The plan also includes a proposal to make it illegal for anyone to host or write fake online reviews.

According to reports, under these plans, businesses offering subscription-based services would also be mandated to make it exactly clear what that consumers are signing up to and also allow them means to cancel their subscription easily.

Which?, the national consumer champion that raises awareness around consumer rights, came out in support to the plans and stated that the policy should be implemented swiftly.

Rocio Concha, Director of policy and advocacy at Which?, stated that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted severe gaps and weaknesses in existing consumer protections, which has allowed a number of unscrupulous businesses to spring up and exploit UK customers.

As part of the new government proposals, regulators will receive help to completely put a stop to predatory tactics used to misguide and manipulate people browsing the internet for different goods as well as services.

For the record, this would also include punishing businesses that mislead consumers by making them spend more money than they want to, along with ‘negative nudges’; when businesses essentially pay to get their product featured at the top of a trader's website and hide the fact they have paid for the spot.

The government also stated that it would keep a tough stance on prepayment schemes like Christmas savings clubs; where consumers select Christmas vouchers and hampers months in advance, and pay regular installments towards those goods through the course of the year.

The new plans would require such schemes to safeguard consumers’ money in the future. The goal is to avoid a repeat of scandals such as the 2006 Farepak-gate, where thousands of people lost all their savings for Christmas when the enterprise went bankrupt.

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