ACCC: Removalist admits publishing false testimonials
Citymove Pty Ltd has paid a $6,600 infringement notice and provided a court enforceable undertaking after it published false consumer testimonials on its Moving Review website.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said testimonials which are used to promote a business must be genuine.
"This outcome serves as a reminder for businesses to take care when using consumer testimonials and ensure their websites are accurate."
Citymove provides removalist services in several metropolitan areas across Australia and is the registered owner of the Moving Review website (www.movingreview.com.au).
Citymove admits testimonials published on the website were false or misleading as they purported to be testimonials prepared by genuine consumers when they were not.
The ACCC found the testimonials were copied from an unrelated review website, altered and published on the Moving Review website. Details such as the username of the consumer, the star rating and the name of the removalist company were altered.
Citymove used contractors to populate the new Moving Review website with the transferred testimonials. However, Citymove failed to have in place procedures to ensure the accuracy of the copied testimonials and allowed the website to go live in the knowledge that errors existed on the website.
Express prohibitions against making false or misleading testimonials were introduced as part of the Australian Consumer Law amendments on 1 January 2011.
The infringement notice and the undertaking will be available on the public register section of the ACCC's website http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml?itemId=6029
General information about the ACCC powers to issue infringement, substantiation and public warning notices is available via www.accc.gov.au/notices