Online reviews are an increasingly integral part of the purchasing process, in Australia and internationally. Consumers consult review sites to make decisions ranging from, ‘Which restaurant makes the hottest jalapeno pizza?’ to ‘Which airports offer the most comfortable options for backpackers trying to save a few dollars by sleeping overnight?’ Consumer reviews are a cost-effective and powerful tool to make choices about the decision to purchase.

Recognising that review websites play such an important role in the decision to purchase is the genesis of the strict rules governing what businesses can and cannot post on a review website. This article will then briefly discuss how businesses can comply with the Australian Consumer Law when using online review platforms, such as Zomato and Trustpilot.

Advertising on Online Review Platforms: Be Genuine

The reviews available on a review platform must be true reflections of a customer’s opinion. If a review is not genuine, this is conduct that is likely to mislead other consumers and lead them to form an impression of the business that they would not otherwise have created. The ACCC does not tolerate misleading conduct and posting fabricated reviews on review platforms can lead to penalties, such as the ones discussed below in the Citymove case.

What Not to Do?

Do not:

  • Post fake testimonials or reviews on any advertising medium;
  • Commission or pay another person to write reviews on an online platform;
  • Do not post reviews about a competitor’s business that are untrue or misleading.

The Citymove Case

Citymove is a company providing removalist services Australia-wide. Not satisfied with their attention-seeking, fashion forward, fuschia coloured uniforms to attract customers, Citymove created a review website. Ostensibly, happy Citymove customers could post reviews about their Citymove experience – hopefully, how delicately they transported Theodore’s prized record collection. Instead, Citymove created fake testimonials and published the testimonials on another website. Citymove decided it wanted more of the forbidden pie and also published fake testimonials on third party review platforms.

The above-mentioned forbidden pie came back to bite, as forbidden pie tends to do. Citymove had to cough up a $6,600 fine for its infringement of the Australian Consumer Law. They also had to agree to a court-enforced undertaking to refrain from making false or misleading representations that purported to be testimonial,  and to establish a trade practice compliance program.

Key Takeaways

In summary, positive customer reviews on review platforms are one of the easiest and most effective forms of advertising. Best of all, it’s free! Rather than spend money and time in creating fake testimonials, focus on making your business a quality outfit that consumers will return to of their own accord. Don’t risk breaching the Australian Consumer Law – a $6,600 penalty is minor when compared with the maximum the law allows.

Questions? Please get in touch on 1300 544 755.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Chloe Sevil
Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at

View Privacy Policy