By Gwendoline Davies

Fake reviews have featured in the press a lot recently, but they are certainly not a new phenomenon and such practices have no doubt existed for as long as people have been reviewing products and services. However, the explosion of the online retail marketplace has made fake reviews a very lucrative business. At present it can be difficult for businesses to identify, prevent and respond effectively to fake reviews. However, a recent landmark case saw an Italian court sentence a man to prison for ‘paid review fraud’ (the act of selling fake reviews to businesses). This is the first case of its kind. Walker Morris’ Head of Commercial Dispute Resolution and retail specialist Gwendoline Davies explains and offers practical advice.