Monthly commercial law update: Top 5 developments in June

Monthly commercial law update: Top 5 developments in June

Too hot?

Too tired to trawl through last month's legal developments?

https://twitter.com/SkyNews/status/616313999269892096

Fortunately at Lexis House we have air conditioning and are fizzing with energy. So here are this month’s 'top 5' developments, as extracted from our Lexis®PSL Commercial monthly round-up.

Consumer protection: CMA acts to maintain trust in online reviews and endorsements

The CMA has published a report following its call for information on online reviews and endorsements. The CMA estimates that more than half of UK adults (54%) use online reviews, and that 6% use blogs or video blogs (vlogs) before making purchases.

https://twitter.com/CMAgovUK/status/611872931174612992

Most buyers who used reviews and endorsements found that the product or service they bought matched up to their expectations. However, the CMA has also heard about instances of potentially misleading practices, eg:

  • fake reviews being posted onto review sites
  • negative reviews not being published, and
  • businesses paying for endorsements in blogs and other online articles without the payment being made clear to consumers.

In response, the CMA has opened an investigation using its consumer enforcement powers into a number of organisations in connection with the potential non-disclosure of paid endorsements. The CMA is not naming the parties directly involved in its investigation at this early stage of the case.

Other concerns that have been raised with the CMA are being assessed to determine whether enforcement action is warranted.

The CMA has also produced information for businesses explaining what they need to do to help them comply with the law. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 contain a general prohibition on unfair commercial practices, in particular, misleading and aggressive practices. It is a banned practice to:

  • use editorial content in the media to promote a product where a trader has paid for the promotion without making that clear in the content or by images or sounds clearly identifiable by the consumer, and
  • falsely claim or create the impression that a trader is not acting for purposes relating to their trade, business or profession, or to falsely represent oneself as a

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