The law implementing the EU Omnibus Directive into Polish law came into force on January 1, 2023. Many important provisions concern the display of consumer opinions about products, so we have prepared an article in which we discuss all the requirements and provide solutions. If you are a business owner, this is a topic worth exploring not only to avoid penalties, but also to gain the trust of consumers honestly.
Year after year, we observe the increasing importance of online sales. More and more often, the Internet is the first place to search for new products or services. The fundamental question to ask ourselves is on what basis will visitors decide whether this is exactly what they want to buy and where they want to buy it.
This is where the so-called social proof comes into play. If we are unsure about something, we check what other people have done. In our case, we are dealing with opinions.
If our website or store contains reliable reviews that confirm the quality of the product and our service, visitors will be much more willing to buy from us. Therefore, collecting opinions and presenting them is such an important element, even necessary.
The directive imposes an information obligation on entrepreneurs, which consists of clearly communicating whether the opinions come from real customers who have used or purchased the product. So you don't have to verify the origin of the opinions, but it is your duty to inform consumers about it. You can include such a message on your website:
The opinions on our website are not verified.
And that's it, but you will surely agree that such a message is not encouraging... So how can you display opinions in accordance with the directive and at the same time not discourage potential customers?
You can collect opinions in various ways, but in the context of the new regulations, it is important that verification is possible, to ensure that they come from real customers. One of the methods recommended by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection is sending customers an individual link that allows them to leave a review. You can also provide the option to add a rating only for logged-in users. Another option may be to require entering an order or reservation number when adding a review. However, it is important that the control methods do not hinder the submission of opinions.
It is therefore unacceptable to manipulate opinions (displaying only positive opinions) and claim that they come from real customers, even though these opinions have not been verified.
Of course, clear information is also required when publishing opinions in accordance with the directive, for example:
The opinions come from customers who have used or purchased the product. The opinions are verified and published in accordance with the website's regulations.
By providing access to consumer opinions, you must indicate how the opinions are processed. In addition to describing the method of verifying the authenticity of the opinions, you should indicate, among other things, whether all opinions are published (both positive and negative), how the average rating is calculated, and whether sponsored opinions affect the rating.
You can include a description of the control and processing process in the website's terms and conditions, and place a visible link to the terms and conditions in the communication under the opinions. Of course, you can create a separate subpage, but including the information in the terms and conditions is sufficient.
By using the Rating Captain application, you can adjust the display of product or service reviews on your website to comply with the provisions of the Omnibus Directive. Our platform collects only transaction-confirmed opinions for you, i.e., from consumers who have made a purchase or used your company's services, so all opinions are verified.
How does it work in practice? After using your offer, the consumer receives an invitation to leave a review. All opinions, both positive and negative, which are confirmed by a transaction, are displayed in the widgets on your website. The average rating is also calculated based on all collected opinions. Therefore, it is not possible to leave a review for a person who has not made a transaction and display such an opinion on your website.
The Omnibus Directive is a big step towards combating unfair market practices. The maximum penalty that the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection can impose for violating collective consumer interests is 10% of the turnover of the entrepreneur from the previous financial year. As can be seen from the above, false reviews on a website can cause a lot of trouble. Choosing ethical and honest ways of collecting opinions is definitely a better solution.
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