Fighting fake reviews: 72% of consumers want ‘GDPR-like’ fines

Mar 9, 2020 | E-commerce, Regulation, Social media

UK watchdog investigates Amazon and Google for fake reviews
Almost three quarters (72%) of consumers feel the retail sector needs a new set of standards to combat fake reviews, according to new research.

The study, conducted by digital marketing company, Bazaarvoice Inc, quizzed more than 10,000 consumers across the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia, finds

In particular, these standards should stipulate that only verified customers are allowed to post reviews (43%), all products should be tried and tested by such consumers before launch (38%) and that customer content should be reviewed on a daily basis to weed out fake reviews (34%).

In the UK, consumers feel an appropriate level of punishment for brands in breach of these standards would be 12% of overall revenue. This compares to 4% of revenue in the instance of breaching GDPR.

High stakes for brands

Authenticity is crucial to building trust among consumers. Rather than anything brands convey in their adverts or websites (16%), it’s the shared positive experiences of friends and family (36%), other reviewers (29%) and direct, personal experiences of brands (71%) which determine trust the most.

Once established, trust is not a fickle thing. In fact, 54% of consumers in the UK would buy from the brand again even after a negative product experience – so long as the brand had lost their trust.

Fake reviews are a key threat in this regard. In the UK, if consumers suspect a product to have fake or fraudulent reviews, 48% will not buy the product and 43% would lose trust for the brand. Once trust is lost, 78% of consumers state they avoid using the brand ever again, while 28% ensure they leave a negative review of the product they purchased.

Joe Rohrlich, Chief Revenue Officer, Bazaarvoice comments, “Among the top triggers that make consumers suspicious are multiple reviews with similar wording and an overwhelming number of very positive reviews, both of which are common for ecommerce sites. It is paramount that brands are reviewing customer content through technology-based and human moderation to account for the subtleties in one of the most challenging aspects of ecommerce.”

Keeping good faith

Another important lesson in keeping good faith between brand and consumer is the accessibility of negative reviews. Two thirds of UK consumers (65%) express negative reviews are as important as positive reviews in their decision to purchase a product because they contain more detailed information on the product pros and cons as well as being less likely to be fraudulent.

However, fraudulent reviews from other customers are not the only way brands could lose trust. Poor quality products (61%), dishonest brand & product information (53%) as well as problems with customer service (49%) are all ranked by UK consumers as more likely to break their trust of the brand than what other customers may have said.

Joe Rohrlich concludes, “Ultimately customer trust can be protected where brands prioritise honesty and responsivity as core values. Alongside the right tools and expertise, brands should pursue new insights from customer content that can help enhance product design and production quality. In turn, this delivers both improved shopper experiences and a reduction in the return rates currently wreaking havoc upon the retail sector.”


The research was commissioned by Bazaarvoice and conducted by Savanta among 10,000 consumers. 2,000 respondents were representatively sourced per region in the UK, US, France, Germany and Australia.

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