Online reviews guidelines mark end of CMA ICPEN presidency

Consumers worldwide to benefit as international consumer protection enforcers issue guidelines on online reviews and endorsements.

The International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), a network of consumer protection authorities from nearly 60 countries, has today published 3 sets of guidelines on online reviews and endorsements for review administrators, traders and marketers, and digital influencers.

Consumers are increasingly using opinions in online reviews, articles and blogs to help them decide where to go on holiday, which restaurants to visit, or which products or services to buy. Consumer protection agencies across the world have been taking action to help build trust in these valuable tools and prevent the use of misleading or fake reviews and endorsements.

Under the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) 2015 to 2016 presidency, ICPEN members have come together to produce a common set of principles for the sector. These guidelines provide simple dos and don’ts for review sites, traders and marketing businesses, and digital influencers, such as bloggers and vloggers. The guidelines will help traders and businesses know which practices to adopt and which to avoid so that consumers get the full picture and can trust that the opinions they read are genuine and unbiased.

As the volume of shopping online and across borders grows and trade becomes increasingly international, it is important that consumer protection enforcers around the world work together to ensure that businesses, wherever they are based, deal with consumers fairly.

The CMA’s year-long presidency of ICPEN, which draws to a close today, has brought enforcers together to tackle problems faced by consumers across the globe by sharing information and taking common actions. The new guidelines are just one example of the work carried out by ICPEN under the CMA’s presidency.

The CMA has published a report, which gives more details about the work delivered by ICPEN and its members during the CMA’s year as president. The presidency passes to the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, Germany, on 1 July 2016.

Nisha Arora, ICPEN President and CMA Senior Director, Consumer, said:

Consumers are increasingly shopping in an international marketplace, whether shopping online or travelling or buying abroad. Consumers in different countries often face common problems. They need to know that they can trust the businesses with which they are dealing, wherever they are based.

It’s more important than ever that consumer protection agencies work together to tackle common problems and ensure that businesses, wherever they are based, deal with consumers fairly. The guidelines on online reviews and endorsements that we have published today send a common message from consumer agencies across the world to businesses, wherever they are located. This is just one example of how ICPEN is bringing enforcers together to protect consumers worldwide.

Ilona Ulich, incoming ICPEN President, said:

I am very happy to take up the role of ICPEN President from Nisha Arora and keen to build on the CMA’s excellent work during the upcoming German ICPEN Presidency. The strategic steer the CMA has provided to the network in the past year has paved a solid way for our programme of work to make the German Presidency’s mission ‘Uniting enforcers – Protecting consumers’ come true.


Source: CMA website