[SMK] Social Media Knowledge

DIGITAL MARKETING NEWS

Meriton manipulated TripAdvisor reviews: ACCC

The ACCC has issued proceedings against serviced apartment provider, Meriton, alleging misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to reviews posted on TripAdvisor.

Posting fake online reviews has been a key focus for the ACCC for quite some time. In this case, the ACCC has changed tack by claiming that a brand took steps to stop customers from posting negative reviews.

What happened?

TripAdvisor provides a ‘Review Express’ service to participating businesses. A participating business provides TripAdvisor with the contact details of customers who have consented to receiving a ‘Review Express’ email from TripAdvisor, inviting the customer to submit a review about their experience.

The ACCC alleges that from November 2014 to October 2015, senior management at Meriton told staff to either not provide TripAdvisor with email addresses of guests who they thought were likely to complain, or to doctor the email addresses so that TripAdvisor’s email to those customers would bounce (in a process called ‘masking’).

The behaviour is alleged to have taken place at Meriton properties that experienced infrastructure or service failures, such as no hot water, disruptions to phone services or lifts out of order.

Why is this a problem?

The ACCC alleges that Meriton’s conduct had the effect of distorting the reviews and star ratings on TripAdvisor.

Said ACCC Commissioner, Sara Court, “Consumers rely on independent review platforms like Trip Advisor when making purchasing decisions.

If reviews are manipulated to falsely create a more favourable impression about a provider, consumers may choose that provider on the basis of that falsehood over another accommodation provider who has not engaged in misleading conduct.”

The ACCC is seeking penalties, declarations, injunctions, corrective publication orders, orders for the implementation of a consumer law compliance program and costs. 

Meriton is defending the claims.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Kelly is the founder of KHQ Approved, which offers fixed fee solutions across a range of areas (including marketing law and contract review).  Peace of mind from an experienced team for a reasonable price.

Learn with SMK through April

Start your SMK: Digital Excellence 30-day free trial today and unlock unlimited, on-demand access to hundreds of hours of digital masterclasses, training courses and hands-on tutorials.

Your risk-free trial offers the perfect opportunity to expand and upgrade your digital intellectual property.

Each month SMK releases 30 hours of new and updated social media and digital marketing educational course content, ensuring you never get left behind – be it on digital strategy, tactics or implementation.

Alongside this, SMK offers live help and support weekly within the SMK Working Group. It might be a quick fix or the root of a bigger problem; either way, a problem shared is a problem halved. On a day-to-day basis, SMK’s team gives you hands-on support and fresh ideas.

Not to mention a shoulder to cry on, occasionally.

April's Courses, Live Help & Support Options

Live Member Clinics every Monday & Tuesday from 1 pm – 2 pm AEST
  • Live help and support from SMK’s team of analysts.
  • Book in to request a personalised discussion for 15 or 30m via Zoom within the Facebook Working Group.
Weekly Technical Labs: Google Analytics 4 on Wednesdays from 1 pm – 2 pm AEST
  • Technical Labs explore the technological process and workflows related to key digital marketing activities.
SEO Made Easy Masterclass on Thursdays from 10 am – 12 pm AEST
  • Module One: 2024 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Trends, Challenges and Opportunities
  • Module Two: Understanding Technical SEO, User Experience & Google Search Console
  • Module Three: On-Page SEO, Website Copywriting & Content Marketing
  • Module Four: Off-Page SEO, Local SEO & Google Business Profile Optimisation
Digital Marketing Evaluation Masterclass on Fridays from 11 am – 1 pm AEST
  • Module One: 2024 Ads Trends, Landscape and Opportunities
  • Module Two: Social Ad Reporting, Evaluation & Campaign Optimisation
  • Module Three: Advertising Strategy, Targeting & Campaign Planning
  • Module Four: Social Ad Creative, Copywriting & Campaign Testing

Leave a Comment