There have been two developments on the controversial subject of online reviews.
One concerns the online agency Emoov, which three months ago was said by the Advertising Standards Authority to have agreed to remove large numbers of reviews which related to the previous ownership of the agency.
Estate agency analyst Andrew Stanton had complained to the ASA that the current ownership of Emoov - trading since January 23 2019 - was claiming credit for reviews praising the record of the company under its previous owners.
There were also claims about saving money for sellers which still remained on Emoov’s site but which related to the company in its former guise.
The ASA said Emoov agreed to modify its online claims accordingly, but Stanton insists this has not been honoured by the agency.
“You have made a judgement that no formal action will be taken as Emoov had stated they would remove the false Trustpilot testimonials and that would be an end to it. That was late October 2019. Emoov have reneged on this” says Stanton in correspondence with the ASA seen by Estate Agent Today.
“Now ASA are reneging on upholding their judgement, ie further action will happen against Emoov if they did not respond as they had promised. So, you and Emoov have gone back on your word – which given that you are meant to be ‘honest’ shows a lack of understanding the precepts you are founded upon” he continues.
Stanton has told the authority that he is now going to try to resolve the matter by publicising the issue to consumers, who he claims are “at risk due to the lack of action by your organisation.”
Estate Agent Today asked the ASA for its comments on the issue yesterday morning: as of this morning, no reply was received.
Meanwhile on the wider subject of online reviews - of agencies and any other organisation or commercial operation - the Competition and Markets Authority has stepped up a probe it began last year.
In a statement the authority says Facebook and eBay have agreed to tackle the trade in fake and misleading reviews.
The website giants have already taken down content identified by the CMA - believed to involve the sale of false reviews - and have removed similar content that they identified themselves.
They have also agreed to put measures in place that will help prevent this content from appearing on their websites in the future.
Facebook is also investigating allegedly-fake reviews on Instagram, which it operates. “The CMA will be seeking a commitment from Facebook to take action to tackle these further issues” says the authority’s statement.