Businesses have been warned to make sure they can prove glowing testimonials and endorsements on their websites are from genuine customers or risk thousands of dollars in fines.
NSW minister for fair trading, Anthony Roberts, said rave reviews from customers have become a crucial sales tool for many businesses spruiking their wares and services on their websites, however, false or misleading testimonials are prohibited under the Australian Consumer Law.
“Businesses use testimonials from customers as an advertising method to draw in sales, but they must be able to back it up with hard evidence,” Mr Roberts said.
NSW Fair Trading has asked four non-real estate businesses to substantiate the testimonials on their websites within 21 days or face thousands of dollars in fines.
“Failing to do so can result in a maximum fine of $16,500 for corporations or $3,500 for an individual,” he said.
Mr Roberts said the crackdown on fake testimonials is about ensuring traders act with honesty and transparency to prevent consumers being misled.
“Businesses doing the right thing have nothing to worry about but any trader who thinks they can get away with misleading and deceptive conduct will soon have a visit from Fair Trading,” Mr Roberts said.