20231003 US Chamber Comments proposed Trade Regulation Rule on Consumer Reviews and Testimonials
October 03, 2023
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (“the Chamber”) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC” or “Commission”) proposed Trade Regulation Rule on the Use of Consumer Reviews and Testimonials (“NPRM” or the “Rule”). The Chamber supports FTC and other government agency efforts to hold bad actors responsible for fake review and testimonial fraud. The Chamber agrees with the FTC’s assessment that fake reviews and testimonials negatively impact the retail, hospitality, and personal service marketplaces. Fake reviews undermine informed shopping, result in purchases of poorer quality, and harm users’ trust in retail, marketplace service providers, brands, and review platforms.
Comments by Chair Khan stated platforms may benefit from problematic reviews and endorsements. The Chamber rejects this simplistic and unsupported mischaracterization. Platforms are incentivized to fight fake reviews and testimonials because they harm the long-term health of their businesses. Honest companies are interested in repeat customers and future sales. Accordingly, platforms invest heavily in both human operators and innovative technologies to address the ever-evolving threat of fake reviews. The Chamber hopes the FTC can recognize that the business community is a significant part of the solution to combating bad actors who take advantage of consumers through fake reviews.
While the Chamber supports efforts to address deceptive or unfair uses of reviews and endorsements in appropriate circumstances, any rulemaking should only address clear and unambiguous unfair or deceptive acts or practices (“UDAP”) violations. Our comment begins by discussing relevant legal issues related to the rulemaking. We then discuss a few areas where the proposed rule provisions could impact businesses in ways that warrant reconsideration or clarification. Next, we highlight a few concerns with current definitions. We conclude with a call for more public input as part of the Section 18 rulemaking process.