MADISON, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Avid® Ratings, the full-service customer experience (CX) firm serving the building industry, today applauded the United States House of Representatives for passing the Consumer Review Fairness Act. The bill, also known as H.R.5111, makes it illegal for companies to threaten or contractually prohibit consumers from posting honest opinions about a company or service in reviews online. As a longtime proponent of both transparency in commerce and ethical conduct in the online review marketplace, Avid Ratings believes the passage of this bill is an important step in protecting the rights of consumers, as well as the reputations of companies who operate fairly and ethically.
“The successful passing of the Consumer Review Fairness Act in the U.S. House of Representatives underscores the urgent need for a law which protects consumers’ right to voice honest opinions about the conduct of companies they purchase goods and services from,” said Paul Cardis, Founder and CEO of Avid® Ratings. “Research strongly indicates that online reviews hold significant influence over the buying decisions of consumers. Any online review behavior that falls short of ethical conduct threatens the integrity of commerce and the consumer’s ability to make legitimate buying choices.”
Because the internet is relatively young, and specifically because online customer reviews are a newer phenomenon, there exists a vacuum of laws to ensure the integrity of the customer review process. Manipulation and coercion of customer reviews is now rampant throughout the internet across all industries, including home building and remodeling. The Consumer Review Fairness Act addresses the legitimacy of feedback in consumer reviews, which plays a critical role in the significant growth of online purchasing and digital commerce in all industries.
Avid Ratings campaigned vigorously for the passage of the bill, speaking directly with Congressman and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, several other Congresspeople and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). “It is important to note that the bill has bipartisan support and is good legislation that will help to ensure that bad companies are unable to misrepresent themselves to the public when it comes to their star ratings and online reviews,” noted Cardis. “If signed into law, it will cancel out any existing gag orders and provide the needed support to prosecute companies who threaten consumers or try to contractually prevent them from posting their feedback online.”
The passing of the Consumer Review Fairness Act comes on the heels of the United States Senate passing a similar bill called the Consumer Review Freedom Act last year. Now, with both the House and Senate in agreement on the urgency of the issue via the passage of similar bills in their respective forums, the next step will be for them to bind their bills and put them in front of the President to sign into law.
“Avid Ratings urges the House, Senate and President to do what is necessary to make this bill law,” said Cardis.
The FTC has already begun enforcing violations of accuracy in customer reviews in accordance with Section 5 of the FTC Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices Act established in 1938. Recently, the FTC launched a website to inform businesses and consumers alike as to what is permissible and what is a violation regarding online endorsements at www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking.
“We applaud the work of FTC Chairwoman Ramirez, Senator Thune and Congressmen Issa, Kennedy and Lance, and the broad bipartisan efforts in both the House and Senate to protect consumers’ right to publish honest online reviews,” said Cardis. “The FTC and our Congress and Senate are addressing this crucial area before those who wish to deceive consumers do further damage to the market.”
About Avid Ratings
Founded in 1992, Avid Ratings Co. (avidratings.com) is a full-service customer experience (CX) firm dedicated exclusively to helping residential construction companies maximize customer value, increase sales velocity and grow market share. Avid develops and implements end-to-end voice of customer (VoC) and integrated marketing technologies for attracting, delighting and activating loyal homebuilding and remodeling customers. Avid Ratings currently serves over 2,000 residential construction companies throughout North America and is ranked among the “50 Most Influential Tech Companies in Residential Construction” by Constructech magazine.