UK small businesses facing “huge difficulties” from fake reviews

Small businesses in the UK are facing “huge difficulties” when trading through online marketplaces thanks to the prominence of fake reviews.

Fake reviews were the most common problem for the one in five small UK businesses which trade online via online marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay and Facebook, according to new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

“Crucial to small firms are websites like Ebay, Amazon and Facebook who are central to advertising, sales, and their exporting aims,” the FSB’s national chairman Mike Cherry said.

“However, small businesses’ use of online platforms is not without problems, and still too many encounter problems such as fake or malicious reviews, problems with intellectual property, and sudden delisting of their products.

READ MORE: Fake reviews: A threat to consumers and businesses

“We would urge the Government to monitor these trends in small businesses’ use of online platforms as the e-commerce market continues to expand.”

Local delivery was also a key concern for small businesses looking to expand their operations overseas, with 38 per cent of respondents listing it as a main barrier to growing their exports.

Furthermore, a lack of clarity over local taxes and regulations was also a major concern, made worse by the relative uncertainty which remains over Brexit.

“When small firms trade digitally across the world, they are highly exposed to global market forces and disruptions to trade flows,” Cherry added.

“It’s vital that Government both listens to small businesses about their exporting needs and considers them as part of any response to the ongoing digital trade revolution.”

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