Posting Fake Reviews To Make Your Financial Services Company Look More Appealing? The CFPB Says You Will Face The Consequences
The CFPB has put companies that offer financial products and services on notice. If you post fake reviews about yourself online, it “may result in significant penalties.”
“Corporate disinformation campaigns that suppress legitimate reviews or manufacture fake reviews are not only a threat to free speech and fair competition, they are also illegal,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. According to the agency, manipulating customer reviews is unlawful under the Consumer Financial Protection Act. “Laundering fake reviews in ways that appear completely independent from the company to improve their ratings may constitute a deceptive practice,” the agency states.
Examples were provided. One involved a company that relied on its own employees to leave reviews of the company’s products, which it said was unlawful because they had not disclosed that they were employees in the reviews themselves. Another example involved paying non-employees to post materially misleading reviews.
Also apparently illegal is only showing positive reviews about ones own products while hiding or refusing to publish the negative ones.
The CFPB cited a similar initiative undertaken by the FTC. “Fake reviews and other forms of deceptive endorsements cheat consumers and undercut honest businesses,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Advertisers will pay a price if they engage in these deceptive practices.”
With the CFPB’s purview being more narrow than the FTC’s, the CFPB’s closing message was that “Banks and financial companies should ensure that their customer review practices comply with all applicable laws, including the Consumer Financial Protection Act. Violations are subject to civil penalties and other legal consequences.”Last modified: April 21, 2022