The Digital Republic Act dated 7 October 2016 requires companies that provide client review services to disclose clear and fair information as to the processing of such reviews. Secondary legislation specifying the extent of such information has just been adopted, on 29 September 2017.
Who does this apply to?
Companies who offer services that allow the processing, moderation or publication of consumers’ online reviews.
What does the legislation require?
Companies to whom this legislation applies are required to provide in a clear and legible manner in French:
- Next to the reviews:
- the existence, if any, of a process to moderate the reviews;
- the date of publication of each review as well as the date where the consumer reviewed the product; and
- the ranking criteria, including ranking by date.
- In a specific section that is easily accessible:
- if applicable, the existence of any compensation for the provision of the review;
- the maximum period during which the review will be published and stored; and
- in addition, if the company moderates the review: i) the main criteria used to moderate the reviews; ii) the possibility, if any, to contact the consumer who posted the review; iii) the possibility, if any, to modify the review and the conditions under which the review can be modified; and iv) the reasons for rejecting a review.
In addition, consumers whose review has been refused will need to be informed of the reasons for such refusal.
Why does this matter?
Failure to provide the required information will be punishable by fines up to EUR 375,000 for legal entities.
When does this come into force?
These requirements come into force on 1 January 2018