FTC Fines Fashion Nova for Blocking Negative Reviews

The fast fashion brand will be required to pay $4.2 million to the American Federal Trade Commission, resolving a complaint that the company was suppressing reviews that were less than five stars on its site.

”Deceptive review practices cheat consumers, undercut honest businesses, and pollute online commerce,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a statement. “Fashion Nova is being held accountable for these practices, and other firms should take note.”

According to the FTC, Fashion Nova uses a third-party company to manage reviews, which automatically posts four and five-star ratings of its products. From the end of 2015 through November 2019, the company declined to approve and post reviews that were below four stars, an action which the FTC said “deprives consumers of potentially useful information and artificially inflates the product’s average star rating.”

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With the fine, the FTC said Fashion Nova must publish all customer reviews, regardless of their ratings. The agency sent letters to 10 companies that offer customer review management and published updated guidelines for online retailers on publishing reviews from customers. Fashion Nova did not respond to BoF’s request for comment.

The FTC previously fined Fashion Nova in April 2020 for not giving customers enough notice to cancel orders when merchandised shipped late. The label was also illegally compensating shoppers with gift cards instead of issuing refunds.

Online reviews influence nearly $98.4 billion in online fashion spend, according to a study released last summer by AI company Cheq and the Univesity of Baltimore.

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