ACCC Slams Service Seeking For Coerced Reviews
Online tasking platform, Service Seeking, has been taken to court by the ACCC following allegations of misleading conduct relating to customer reviews.
The platform – used by tradespeople to quote and book jobs – was found to automatically publish a business’ self-written review after three days, without a customer’s consent.
From July 2016, Service Seeking ‘Fast Feedback’ feature allowed businesses to use a template form to write their own reviews (plus star rating), which was then emailed to the customer.
If a customer did not respond to the business’ self-written review in three days, the review was automatically published on Service Seeking’s website.
ACCC Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard, asserts online reviews must accurately reflect the feedback of genuine customers:
“Businesses are warned that online reviews need to accurately reflect the independent views and feedback of genuine customers or the business risks breaching the Australian Consumer Law.”
“We allege that Service Seeking’s conduct gave businesses a chance to effectively rate and review themselves without any input from the customer.”
The ACCC claims Service Seeking’s ‘Fast Feedback’ feature breached Australian Consumer Law, with at least 80% of its reviews not written or approved by customers.
Since July 2016, over 18,000 jobs have been completed with feedback under ‘Fast Feedback’ reviews.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, penalties, an Australian Consumer Law Program, corrective disclosure orders, and costs.
Further information is available on the ACCC’s website here.