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Feefo Compliance

At Feefo we have teams of people constantly on the lookout for anything that looks suspicious, irrelevant or inappropriate. These teams protect the thousands of businesses using our platform, the millions of consumers using our reviews, and our brand from a whole host of potential issues ranging from fake or incentivised reviews to illegal or fraudulent behaviour.

We use a variety of sophisticated tools and algorithms to detect and investigate potential compliance issues, some are fully automated and others involve in-depth analysis by our team.

Issues flagged by our automated algorithms are always verified by our specialists manually checking the business’s complete set of reviews to ensure current and historical data meets our quality standards.

Consumers can also raise concerns about reviews or businesses by directly contacting the team. These concerns trigger an investigation where our suite of automated and manual checks are completed.

Litigious, illegal and fraudulent content is removed as soon as issues are detected whereas suspicious behaviour is often more complex and needs more time and resources to understand the problem. For minor infringements, our team discuss our findings with the business before taking action. But, in serious cases, for example, where we are confident reviews have not been submitted by real customers, immediate action may be necessary. In the event of any doubt, Feefo has zero tolerance for fake reviews. Our brand is built on trust and these rules are in place to protect our clients, consumers and our brand.

Moderation and Authenticity

Feefo Compliance involves two specialist teams:

  • Moderation: This team focuses on the content of the review, for example, the words used or the inclusion of personal information. Full details as to why a review may be moderated can be found in our moderation guidelines.
  • Authenticity: This team of fraud analysts dig deep into the data behind each review, looking at its source and its trustworthiness to ensure that there’s nothing that might suggest this is not from a real customer. As these processes are proprietary and helpful to fraudsters, we cannot share how this is done but we do publish some authenticity guidelines (link to the authenticity guidelines below).

Avoiding Compliance Issues

As an invite-only review platform, our systems naturally have strong defences against many of the issues experienced by other review platforms. Only customer data from the businesses themselves is used to generate review requests, thereby reinforcing the integrity of genuine customer feedback. Only genuine customers of the service should be sent review requests.

Every business that joins Feefo agrees to our client terms and conditions confirming that they will send us genuine, accurate and complete customer data that hasn’t been manipulated or edited by them. This is where the authenticity team gets involved as they rigorously check sources and content for anything that might suggest a business may not comply with its contractual obligations.

Likewise, when submitting a review, consumers are also agreeing to our review submission terms and conditions. Reviewer non-compliance is primarily around the words used so this is where the moderation team take action, ensuring that such examples as unlawful, hateful and indecent content don’t get published. Authenticity can be a problem with reviewers too as the words used may be non-genuine, for example, copied from another website or created using an artificial intelligence (AI) engine. This is where the authenticity team apply their checks, detecting and weeding out anything that could be copyrighted or machine-generated material.

The checks for identifying authentic feedback are proprietary, complex and far-reaching so cannot be published.

However, compliant reviews are considered to be those with the following features:

  • Have not been submitted by staff, friends, family or anyone closely associated with the business. Where they have, this could be seen as a biased opinion and may be deemed untrustworthy due to a conflict of interest.
  • Have not been selected from the customer data for a reason that may prove beneficial to the business. Feefo clients are contractually obliged to send us an unbiased set of data. Therefore, there must be no pre-selection of which customer data you send us.
  • Reviewers have not been offered an incentive to leave a review (i.e. this applies to all reviews and not just to positive ones) as this violates Google’s requirements and also potentially creates bias within the review. However, charitable donations such as our product: Treefo do not directly benefit the reviewer and are therefore deemed acceptable.
  • A customer should only receive one service review request per transaction, except where a genuine second service transaction has taken place. For example, initially collecting a review about the purchasing experience for a holiday immediately after the sale and then, after the trip, a review of the holiday experience.
  • Have not been written on behalf of another individual. This includes, but is not limited to situations where staff leave reviews on the customer’s behalf, for example, if they don’t have internet access.
  • Have not been collected at the point of sale, on the business’s premises or using the business’s electronic equipment (desktop computers, tablet PCs or mobile phones), with the exception of products such as Feefo Places and collection via QR codes printed on receipts. Reviews left onsite could be potentially biased.
  • Have not been collected so they can be shared across multiple brands. Do not share reviews between brands. Reviews are collected for an individual website and therefore the same collection of reviews cannot be published on multiple websites, even those within the same parent business, as it can be misleading to consumers. Reviews collected via the Feefo syndication network do not apply in this instance.
  • Must not have been created using AI, bots or any form of machine-learning technology. All reviews must be a genuine and first-hand account of an experience or product.

Action We Take

The compliance team is a data-led team in terms of its approach and depending upon the level of evidence, a number of actions may be considered.

Reviews that include issues listed in the moderation guidelines such as profanities, discrimination or competitor comments are removed as soon as they’re identified. Reviewers are given an opportunity to resubmit their review without the offending content and if the resubmission is considered compliant, the review is republished.

Authenticity issues often involve more than a single review. In the most severe cases of non-compliance, where we believe delay could damage the business involved, users of Feefo reviews or ourselves, action will be taken immediately without prior warning to the business concerned. This could involve the removal of the reviews concerned or the suspension of the account. In this situation, we will contact the business as soon as we’re able to after the action has been taken to discuss the ongoing situation.

In less severe cases, we will contact the business, submit our concerns and give the business an opportunity to provide answers to our concerns. There are often perfectly reasonable reasons why we’re seeing problems so it’s important that we understand these in context before taking action. Depending upon the nature of the problems found and the severity of the non-compliance, we reserve the right to take actions that include but are not limited to:

  • Removal of all reviews that are considered non-compliant.
  • Turn off the feed that passes the business’s reviews to Google.
  • Hold back or withdraw any Feefo award such as the Trusted Service Award.
  • Suspend the business’s Feefo account.