New Laws To Protect Consumers: Fake Reviews & 'Subscription Traps'

by Alex Stephens

New measures for online fake reviews

As of April 2022, online fake reviews became illegal under new measures that give greater powers in preventing rogue traders from operating, with the aim to protect consumers’ money. Under the new law, it will be illegal to pay someone to write a fake review. A watchdog will have new rights to fine businesses up to 10% of global annual turnover and award compensation to consumers.

This new legislation will mean people can no longer be cheated by bogus ratings and will start to see more genuine reviews before they purchase a product or service. The average UK household spends around £900 each year influenced by online reviews, figures suggest. This new law is certainly a step in the right direction to protect consumers’ money.

Matthew Upton, Director of Policy at Citizens Advice, said: with pressure piling on household budgets, it’s good to see action that’ll make it easier for people to protect their cash. (

Fake reviews will be tackled by consulting on a new law against: 

  • Commissioning someone to write or submit a fake review 
  • Hosting consumer reviews without taking reasonable steps to check they are genuine 
  • Offering or advertising to submit, commission or facilitate fake reviews

Keyboard and stars

Clearer rules to opt out of subscriptions

There will also be clearer rules to make it easier for consumers to opt out of subscriptions so they are not stuck paying for things they no longer want. Figures suggest, the average UK household spends £60 on unwanted subscriptions per year.

‘Subscription traps’ in which businesses make it difficult to exit a contract will also be stopped. Under new rules, businesses must:

  • Provide clearer information to consumers before they enter a subscription contract
  • Issue a reminder to consumers that a free trial or low-cost introductory offer is coming to an end, and a reminder before a contract auto-renews onto a new term
  • Ensure consumers can exit a contract in a straightforward, cost-effective and timely way

The new measures to shield online consumers from rip-offs including fake reviews and subscription traps will apply in England, Scotland and Wales.

Globe with finger pointing to subscribe