Tag Archives: consumer reviews

New Jersey Prohibits Company from Contractually Banning Online Customer Reviews

This week, NJ Attorney General Christopher Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs settled with Fertility Bridges, Inc., a fertility clinic operating in California and Illinois, over the clinic’s practice of contractually barring consumers from posting online reviews of their experiences with the clinic and its personnel. The provisions, set forth in the Terms of … Continue Reading

Software Comparison Site Feels the Crunch of the UK Regulator

A UK website offering reviews of accounting software that was operated by TheAccountancyPartnership.com Ltd t/a Pandle (“Pandle”) was recently challenged by Crunch Accounting Ltd (“Crunch”) on purported misleading advertising and unfair comparisons with identifiable competitors. Crunch complained to the UK advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (the “ASA”) (see: www.asa.org.uk). Crunch contested that www.accountingreviews.co.uk was … Continue Reading

Incentivized Reviews Without Disclosure Get Panned by FTC

In the latest iteration of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) approach to testimonials and endorsements in the context of online advertising, the Commission alleged that AmeriFreight, a company that arranges the shipment of consumers’ cars through third-party freight carriers and its owner posted customer reviews without disclosing that it had provided a financial incentive for … Continue Reading

NAD Jumps the Shark on Use of Consumer Reviews as Substantiation

Sniffing something fishy in the sea of consumer reviews, the National Advertising Division (NAD) snapped its jaws at advertising claims made in television commercials, infomercials, and on the Web by Euro-Pro Operating for its Shark brand vacuum cleaners. The advertising was brought to the NAD's attention by competing vacuum cleaner manufacturer, Dyson, Inc. The claim at issue was: "America's Most Recommended Vacuum Brand.* *Based on percentage of consumer recommendations for upright vacuums on major national retailer websites through August 2013, U.S. Only." What was special about this case was that Euro-Pro sought to substantiate its "most recommended" claim on aggregated consumer reviews. The first issue was, what did the claim really mean? Dyson said it meant that the Shark is the most recommended vacuum among vacuum cleaner owners, nationwide, and that the claim communicated a comparative message, namely that the Shark was recommended over other brands. Euro-Pro, on the other hand, thought the claim was as clear as Caribbean water: the Shark is "America's Most Recommended Vacuum Brand" "based on percentages of consumer reviews for upright vacuums on major national retailer websites through August 2013." There was nothing comparative about the statement, according to the advertiser. Interestingly, the NAD tended to side with the advertiser's interpretation, namely that the claim "America's Most Recommended Vacuum Brand*" reasonably conveyed a message that Shark is the most recommended vacuum brand among American vacuum cleaner consumers. However, it interpreted the asterisked second part of the claim to be an explanation of how Euro-Pro sourced the data on which it based its claim. So, the Shark wins, right? Not so fast.… Continue Reading
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