Advertising with consumer ratings

Advertisements with customer ratings are still very popular. However, a not inconsiderable proportion of the reviews available on the Internet are unfortunately manipulated and/or bought.

For this reason, new rules for advertising with customer ratings (consumer ratings) have been in force since 28.05.2022.

Sellers who advertise in their online store or on their website with customer ratings from consumers must, just like marketplace operators and operators of rating portals, inform whether and how they ensure and verify the authenticity of their consumer ratings. You must disclose whether and how you ensure that the rating comes from consumers who have purchased their goods or used their service (Section 5b III UWG).

The "whether"

If you allow reviews to be submitted directly on your own website or in your own store, you must provide information on whether you use any verification mechanisms at all to ensure the authenticity of the reviews.

If you do not check the ratings, i.e. there is no authentication check, you must also point out this fact. This notice could read: "We do not check the authenticity of the ratings".

You are not required to perform a check.

There is only an obligation to inform if and if you do, how you perform authentication control.

The "How

If you perform controls on ratings, you must disclose the controls, processes, or procedures you use to verify the authenticity and accuracy of ratings. Automated or manual controls may be considered.

If you publish only selected positive reviews that customers have expressed to you, you must also disclose this fact. You must also state whether you publish only positive reviews or also negative reviews. If you publish positive and negative reviews, you must state the ratio in which you publish them.

You must also disclose whether all reviews, whether positive or negative, are published and/or whether these reviews were paid for, sponsored or influenced by way of a contractual relationship with a (possibly different) entrepreneur. This also includes the indication if a consumer is provided with the product and/or a service free of charge in order to provide a positive review and/or any review at all.

The "Misleading commercial acts".

Pursuant to No. 23 b Annex to Section 3 III UWG, it is prohibited to claim that reviews of a good or service originate from consumers who have actually purchased or used that good or service if no review has been conducted with regard to this fact.

According to No. 23c Annex to Section 3 III UWG, the transmission or commissioning of falsified consumer ratings or recommendations as well as the false representation of consumer ratings or recommendations in social media for the purpose of sales promotion is also prohibited. This also covers so-called "likes".

The "Where"

Where must the information be specified?

The mandatory information you must provide must be provided in a clear and easily accessible manner.

Therefore, the best place is directly on the ratings.

Since this often does not fit visually, you should provide the information text in a central location, for example in the footer of the website / online store, next to the information about the privacy policy and the imprint. You could use an asterisk to refer/link to the information text at the point where you publish the rating.

Finally, we would like to point out that the current regulations also apply to evaluations that were submitted before May 28, 2022 and are currently still being published.

If you have any further questions on this topic or would like individual legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.


GoldbergUllrich Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB 2022

Attorney at Law Michael Ullrich, LL.M. (Information Law)

Specialist lawyer for industrial property protection

Specialist lawyer for information technology law