More and more retailers and e-retailers are focusing on social proof, via customer reviews. But remember: the collection, management and publication of online reviews are regulated by a strict legal framework.
On 28 May 2022, a new European directive came into force. The aim? To harmonise and strengthen consumer protection and the reliability of customer reviews. This is known as the Omnibus Directive and it applies to all companies. Let’s find out why and how!
Customer Reviews: A Lack of Reliability in Europe
55% of websites having undergone a check, were found not to be compliant with European law in terms of customer review reliability. These findings were released by the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities, following a screening of 233 websites in 26 member states. And the results were alarming:
- 104 out of 233 websites don’t inform users how they collect and process reviews.
- 118 websites don’t specify how fake customer reviews are prevented. Consumers cannot verify the reviews and find out if they were written by real customers
- 176 websites don’t mention that financially incentivised reviews are prohibited by their internal policy.
A new directive therefore came into force, to prevent the spread of fake customer reviews and improve the reliability of feedback in Europe: the Omnibus Directive.
What Is the Omnibus Directive?
The Omnibus directive (EU) 2019/2161 aims to strength European consumer protection, by updating regulations that have been in force in the EU for several years with new rules.
To strengthen consumer protection, these new measures regulate:
- Price cuts (e-commerce sites, stores, etc.)
- Customer reviews published on the Internet.
For example, Article L. 112-1-1-l. states that any price cut announcement must also include the price charged by the retailer during the 30 days prior. The aim? To provide greater transparency on price changes, especially during sales.
The new Omnibus directive also aims to strengthen the reliability of customer reviews, in order to tackle fake reviews and ensure authentic feedback throughout the year. Since 28 May 2022, retailers and e-tailers who collect product reviews must display:
- How they monitor and verify reviews.
- The verification method used to ensure that reviews were written by consumers who have used or purchased their products.
If you use the trusted third party, Verified Reviews by SKEEPERS, to collect, manage and publish customer reviews, then don’t worry: our solution meets all these legal requirements! It is already compliant.
Omnibus Directive: What Changes for Companies?
Changes for Users of Verified Reviews by SKEEPERS
Our solution, Verified Reviews by SKEEPERS, complies with both European and French regulations. If you use our platform, simply follow the steps below to manage your customer reviews effectively:
- Comments on products should be linked to a purchase reference, and include a date of purchase and the consumer’s personal data, such as name and email address.
- To report a product review, you must select a reason for refusal from a predefined list.
- Reviews must be published on a daily basis and in chronological order.
- Reviews will undergo the defined moderation process.
- Any mention of review compensation (for example, vouchers) is no longer authorised when collecting customer reviews.
Changes for Non-Users of Verified Reviews by SKEEPERS
Non-users of a reliable solution such as Verified Reviews by SKEEPERS must take the necessary steps to ensure that they are compliant. An e-tailer who publishes product reviews must ensure that they are reliable and authentic, in compliance with the new Omnibus rules.
Non-compliant companies may be subject to penalties. These penalties have been reinforced by the Omnibus Directive and can reach fines of 300,000€ or, for large-scale EU-wide infringements, 4% of a company’s annual turnover.
Customer Reviews and the Omnibus Directive: Key Takeaways
Do you collect and publish customer reviews online? Here is what you need to remember:
- European regulations are evolving to tackle fake customer reviews and misleading commercial practices. The new rules mainly aim to regulate price cuts and strengthen the reliability of customer reviews. These rules came into force on 28 May.
- The Omnibus Directive is not applicable in the UK, but a similar directive is expected to be in place within a few months.
- Trusted third parties, such as Verified Reviews by SKEEPERS, help companies upgrade their compliance in line with the Omnibus Directive. Our european platform has been compliant on the brand reviews with the ISO Standard which ask us more controls on collect, moderation and publication than the Omnibus Directive. We have harmonised these regulations on the product reviews at the European scale.
To collect, manage and publish reliable, authentic customer reviews that comply with European law… Verified Reviews by SKEEPERS is at your side! Choose security and simplicity, and discover our solution today just here!