When a brand gets caught for writing their own fake reviews that couldn’t be good right? Skin-care giant Sunday Riley were required to settle charges with The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after claims that the skin-care brand were caught posting fake reviews on Sephora’s website. It was found that the company’s employees were ordered to write fake positive reviews of their products on Sephora’s website between November 2015 and August 2017 to boost sales.
The company did not admit any wrongdoing nor did they receive any form of punishment, however, they did agree not to write fake reviews. The investigations started when a former employee opened fire and accused Sunday Riley of faking the reviews. The FTC’s investigation confirmed that the allegations were true and that Sunday Riley herself was involved. Her plan was to boost sales by writing glorified reviews, burying or disliking the negative ones and instructing her employees on how to avoid being caught doing that! Emails were found that exposed Riley’s attempts at avoiding detection by instructing her employees to use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) so they wouldn’t be traced back to the company.
On top of that, in April of 2018, the company’s interns were also instructed to create fake Sephora accounts so that they can write reviews. Actually it all started when a former employee leaked an email in which the employees were being asked to create said fake accounts. The email also included detailed instructions on how to install a VPN so the reviews wouldn’t be traced back.
“The simple and official answer … is that yes, this email was sent by a former employee to several members of our company,” said Sunday Riley. “At one point, we did encourage people to post positive reviews at the launch of this product, consistent with their experiences.”
That was the company’s official answer to the allegations and they further explained that the only reason they encouraged the fake reviews was to push back against fake negative reviews that were being posted by their competitors. So what does all this mean for Sunday Riley we are still not quite sure….. it could push the sales up for a bit, if only for the sake of curiosity, or it might back fire heavily!!