Green Light For Fake Review Fraud? FTC Infighting Continues Over Sunday Riley Skincare Settlement
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.
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At least one FTC commissioner seems convinced that the agency’s Enforcement Guides are ripe for an update to address unscrupulous influencer marketing practices. Democrat Rohit Chopra proposes their codification into formal rules that would make violators liable for civil penalties and damages.
US lawmakers and even two FTC commissioners are critical of the agency’s proposed settlement with skin-care marketer Sunday Riley, which allegedly misled consumers for almost two years with sham product reviews posted to Sephora.com. According to Venable partner Alexandra Megaris, the company isn’t exactly getting off easy, and broader industry compliance is likely to improve as a result.
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.