Ensure compliance of your online store with the latest legislation.
Since May 28, 2022, a new omnibus directive has been implemented, exerting a direct impact on the entire realm of online commerce in Europe. Directive 2019/2161 specifically pertains to online store and product reviews, making it imperative for you to proactively anticipate and adapt to these regulatory changes.
Ideally, you may already be well-prepared, having anticipated these developments. However, if you haven’t, it is vital to swiftly align your online store with the updated legal requirements.
Allow us to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the modifications that necessitate your attention, particularly in the domain of customer ratings.
What changes need to be made to online stores?
In its efforts to enhance consumer protection, the EU has approved a new directive. Compliance with these regulations is mandatory, as non-compliance may result in warnings and penalties.
EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, stated:
"Consumers often rely on online reviews when making purchases or bookings online. I do not want them to be misled; I want them to be able to interact in a trustworthy environment. In particular, online businesses must provide their customers with clear and identifiable information regarding the reliability of such reviews."
According to a study, 55% of online store operators use fake reviews for their store and products, which violates the new EU Omnibus Directive. Furthermore, approximately 20% of other stores have expressed doubts about the reliability of reviews. For this reason, the European Commission now insists that consumers have the right to receive clear and visible information about how reviews were obtained and the reliability of online reviews. This is the objective of the new omnibus guideline. The new regulation aims to compel all online store operators to be more transparent with their customers. In this regard, appropriate measures must be taken for this to be successful. They argue that confusing sales tactics and aggressive marketing strategies should be avoided, as such misleading information leads customers to make purchasing decisions based on misinformation.
Key Changes at a Glance
Starting from May 28, 2022, all online store operators will be obligated to provide clear disclosure of all reviews on their website, regardless of whether they are store reviews or product reviews. They will also be required to clarify the authenticity of the reviews and how they were collected.
It is strictly prohibited to claim authentic customer reviews for any product or service that customers have purchased or used without proper verification. Online stores are also required to indicate the authenticity verification methods employed to establish the credibility of the reviews. Additionally, false or commissioned reviews are strictly prohibited. Marketing strategies aimed at obtaining positive ratings in exchange for free products or financial compensation are also prohibited and subject to penalties.
The primary objective of the Omnibus directive is to enhance control over sources of consumer information on the internet and curb deceptive advertising that influences purchasing behavior.
- Prohibition of misleading consumers about the authenticity of reviews
- Requirement to declare the authenticity of reviews and disclose the authenticity verification method used
- Prohibition of false or purchased reviews in exchange for free products or financial compensation
Ensure legal compliance and safety in reviews
Whether you work with a third-party review provider or utilize review software for your online store, it is crucial to understand how these providers comply with the new law. It is particularly important to ensure that customers are adequately informed about the nature of the review. Equally important is verifying the authenticity of the review to provide customers with reliable information. Customers should also be informed about the measures taken to authenticate reviews and the specific authentication methods employed.
The new omnibus guideline significantly enhances the value of authentic reviews. With EU-compliant rating systems, customers can be assured that only genuine customer reviews of your online store and products will be featured. This instills greater confidence in both you and your customers. They will express their gratitude through trust and loyalty, leading to increased sales as trust is the key to success in online trading. Demonstrate to your customers that your online store is trustworthy and compliant with the law by promptly responding to changes and implementing them. We are glad to have been of assistance.
If you wish to receive reviews for your online store in the future, it is crucial to ensure that everything operates in accordance with the law. Lets find out if your online commerce meets the requirements!