Watchdog launches action against home builder over review websites

Perth-based home builder Aveling Homes has been accused by the consumer watchdog of creating websites doctored to show only positive reviews of its customers, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleging they were designed to look like independent websites.

Aveling homes accused of creating misleading review websites.

The action, launched in the Federal Court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, claims Aveling engaged in misleading conduct and and made false or misleading representations through the sites.

The ACCC said in a statement: “The ACCC alleges that Aveling Homes created review websites that represented they were independent of Aveling Homes, and that the appearance, layout and features gave consumers the overall impression that they were affiliated with an independent third party consumer review website, Product Review, when this was not the case.”

ACCC says review websites were designed to look like they were not connected to the business.

Michael Schaper, deputy chair of the ACCC, said the allegations were serious because of the scale of investment building a home represented.

“We believe the potential for harm from the conduct alleged in this case is significant, as buying or building a home is one of the biggest purchasing decisions for Australians,” Schaper said.

“Online reviews are increasingly being relied on by consumers and they should be able to trust that those reviews are independent, unbiased and accurately reflect the range of consumer feedback received.”

The ACCC has also alleged that Aveling’s marketing manager Sean Quartermaine “was knowingly concerned with Aveling’s conduct.”


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