FTC Busts Sunday Riley Skincare For Fake Sephora Reviews, But Not All Its Commissioners Are Satisfied
For close to two years, Sunday Riley management allegedly led a company-wide practice of posting glowing reviews of its products on Sephora.com without proper disclosures. The company is barred from repeating such conduct under terms reached with the FTC, but two dissenting commissioners say the settlement falls short of what’s needed to address a growing problem.
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US FTC commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Slaughter maintain that the agency’s no-money, no-fault settlement with Sunday Riley Skincare, now finalized, sends a message of FTC permissiveness regarding fake online reviews that artificially boost brands’ standing and product sales.
Non-monetary settlements are more effective than litigation at changing consumer product companies’ advertising practices, says FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson. “We see non-monetary settlements curtail behavior and require sometimes fundamental changes in the way companies do business.”
Brands unfairly attacked by powerful influencers could raise the subject with the US Federal Trade Commission, which is asking for comments on its “Endorsement Guides."