Providing a forum for customer feedback on websites and blogs is increasingly common including in the fashion retail sphere. Afterall everyone, including Fashionista, likes a recommendation before making a purchase.
However, if you do provide this type of service or functionality you need to be careful that you don’t make any statements which imply (directly or indirectly) that such reviews are “genuine”. Otherwise you run the risk of being deemed to be undertaking misleading advertising.
This advice comes on the back of a ruling this week by the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK against the well known travel site TripAdvisor. The ASA was unhappy with the claims they made on the site that reviews were from real travellers and could be trusted since this could not be verified. The ASA concluded that the claims were in breach of both misleading advertising and substantiation rules in the CAP Code. The site has been told that it can’t make any such statements again.
As reported in the Telegraph, TripAdvisor has defended user generated content as a valuable tool. “Of course, there are a small number who try to post false reviews. We target, catch and penalise those that do. But no site could guarantee that every single contribution is 100% accurate. Indeed, this would be true of any organisation, online or otherwise, verified or not, taking views from consumers. In reality, the impact of these attempts is negligible because they are drowned out by the vast majority of genuine voices that make up our community.