Netherlands to ban fake online reviews
The Cabinet plans to ban fake consumer reviews at online stores and -platforms from next year, according to a legislative proposal submitted by Minister Stef Blok of Economic Affairs. The aim is to implement the bill by the end of May 2022, as per a European directive, to offer consumers the same protection everywhere in the European Union.
According to the bill, online merchants will have to authenticate consumer reviews before they are posted, including checking that the consumer posting the review is a genuine individual who actually bought the product. The bill also bans paying someone else to post fake reviews.
Online stores will also have to inform consumers whether they're receiving a personalized price offer, for example, because an algorithm kept track of what they bought in the past or which websites they visited. And it will be illegal to display search results without making clear that it is paid advertising or that payment was made to get a higher placement. Online stores must also clarify who is responsible for the delivery and handling of returns - the seller or the platform - so that consumers know who to contact if they have problems.
The new rules are the same in all EU Member States. Companies who do not comply with the new regulations can be fined in one or more EU Member States, amounting to at least 4 percent of the company's turnover in the country concerned.