Fashion Nova fined for blocking negative reviews

Retailers may want to think twice before removing negative reviews from their websites.

Federal Trade Commission say on Tuesday that Fashion Nova, a popular fast fashion website, will be ordered to pay $4.2 million to settle allegations that it suppressed customer reviews by giving products less than 4 out of 5 stars. .

The agency said the incident was the first to involve a company’s attempt to conceal negative reviews.

The FTC said in a complaint, Fashion Nova used a third-party product review system that held lower-starred reviews for approval before they could be posted. According to the lawsuit, between 2015 and late 2019, Fashion Nova automatically posted four- and five-star reviews to its website, but did not approve or publish hundreds of thousands of negative, lower-star reviews. than.

Terry Fahn, a spokesman for Fashion Nova, said in an emailed statement that the FTC’s allegations were “inaccurate” and that the company was “very confident that it would win the court and only agreed to settle the matter.” case to avoid distraction and legitimacy. fees it will incur in the litigation. “

While e-commerce has boomed, especially during the pandemic, online review ecosystem still relatively raw. The FTC has sought to police companies like skincare brand Sunday Riley for posting fake reviews online in recent years, though this is the first case of “review suppression.” the agency’s challenges.

These actions by the FTC tend to act as warning signals to other companies. The agency said on Tuesday that it had sent letters to 10 companies that provide review management services, telling them it was not possible to avoid the collection and publication of negative reviews.

Fashion Nova says the problem is their reliance on one vendor and a complication related to the “auto-publish” feature for certain star ratings.

Reviews that are not automatically published may be individually moderated and released manually. “At one point, the company inadvertently failed to complete the process due to certain resource constraints during a period of rapid growth,” said Mr. Fahn. He said that Fashion Nova addressed the issue when it was discovered in 2019 and unpublished reviews were posted.

In addition to the fine, Fashion Nova is prohibited from misrepresenting customer reviews or other endorsements.

Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement: “Deceptive review practices deceive consumers, undercut honest businesses and pollute online commerce. . Fashion Nova fined for blocking negative reviews

Fry Electronics Team

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