CIPR responds to Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announcement on online reviews and endorsements

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have issued new guidance for businesses on how to comply with consumer protection law in the online reviews and endorsements sectors.

The news follows the conclusion of a CMA investigation into the conduct of two marketing companies that produced fake endorsements in online news articles and blogs on behalf of a client.

In an open letter to agencies, in-house departments and clients, the CMA have outlined the need for clear labeling or identifying of paid promotions, as well as the consequences of writing, commissioning and publishing fake reviews.

The letter warns that the use of editorial content to promote a product where a trader has paid for promotion, without making this clear to the consumer, is unlawful and may lead to enforcement action. Similarly, the writing or commissioning of fake reviews is a breach of consumer protection law and may lead to civil or even criminal action.

Phil Morgan Chart.PR MCIPR, Deputy Chief Executive of the CIPR
The CMA’s announcement is a welcome reminder of the need for public relations professionals to maintain the highest standards of professional conduct, particularly when assisting employers or clients with online reputation issues.

The CIPR’s Code of Conduct, to which all members are accountable, compels members to uphold their professional integrity and requires all work carried out by members to be undertaken in a fair and honest manner. Any CIPR member who misleads consumers or the public about a product or service risks having their membership terminated.
Phil Morgan Chart.PR MCIPR, Deputy Chief Executive of the CIPR
Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).