Further safeguards required to ensure online transparency
Following the publication of the CMA’s report into online review sites, the ALMR has stressed the importance of transparency and emphasised the need for further action to be taken to protect both customers and businesses from malicious or misleading reviews.
The Competition and Markets Authority has today published the results of its call for information on online review and endorsement websites.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The CMA’s report underlines what an important, resourceful and influential tool online review websites can be for the tourism industry. Online review websites operate on the basis of appearing to be objective, but the report has highlighted the confusion and damage that can be caused by fake, malicious or misleading reviews.
“Our members have stressed to us what an important tool these websites can be, but they have also earmarked a number of areas in which they feel current provisions are lacking. Businesses are at risk from misleading reviews and we would like to see further ensure procedures for detecting and removing unfair or malicious reviews are put in place along with a formal resolution procedure for disputes and complaints.
“Customers are also at risk and measures to protect them, along with hospitality businesses, such as the identification of paid for listings and greater transparency regarding ratings systems are essential if we are to ensure fairness for users. The report noted that customer expectations are more likely to be exceeded so there is clearly some work to be done to in this regard.
“The ALMR has campaigned on this issue at a European level as the UK representative of HOTREC and we will work closely with the CMA as they progress with ICPEN (the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network) later this summer.”