Service Seeking in court over self-written reviews

Competition watchdog takes legal action against online tasking platform for self written review system.

The ACCC has launched legal proceedings in the Federal Court against online tasking platform Service Seeking, for alleged misleading conduct through its ‘Fast Feedback’ self-written review system.

Service Seeking operates an online tasking platform where tradespeople can quote and book jobs requested by consumers, including cleaning services.

The ACCC alleges Service Seeking’s ‘Fast Feedback’ feature allowed businesses to use a template form to write their own reviews and choose a star rating after completing a job. The proposed review was then emailed to the customer.

If the customer did not respond to a business’ self-written review within three days, the review was automatically published under the business’s profile on ServiceSeeking.com.au.

The competition watchdog alleges Service Seeking’s ‘Fast Feedback’ feature breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by misleading consumers, as at least 80 per cent of ‘Fast Feedback’ reviews were not written or approved by customers.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said online reviews and testimonials are important for consumers when they choose which business to buy goods or services from.

“We allege that Service Seeking’s conduct gave businesses a chance to effectively rate and review themselves without any input from the customer,” she said.

“Businesses are warned that online reviews need to accurately reflect the independent views and feedback of genuine customers or the business risks breaching the Australian Consumer Law.”

According to Service Seeking, the price of hiring a professional house cleaner costs $30 per hour. Officer cleaners cost a little more at $32 per hour for routine cleaning tasks such as vacuuming, mopping and wiping services, while a specialist window cleaning specialist costs around $25 per hour.

INCLEAN contacted Service Seeking for comment but did not respond prior to publication. 

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