The outgoing cabinet submitted a bill on Wednesday evening to curb the posting and having posted fake reviews.

What does the proposal entail and who will check the reviews for authenticity?

Four questions and answers.

1. What does the bill say?

The Consumer Protection Modernization Bill states that websites must check reviews for authenticity before they can be posted.

The government also specifically wants to prohibit the posting of false consumer reviews for a fee.

The rules are based on European guidelines, emphasizes a spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.

"It is up to the Member States themselves to see how they want to fill this in. But because we make a lot of purchases across borders, it is nice if you have the same rules everywhere."

2. Who is going to check this?

That responsibility lies with the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM).

"In fact, posting fake reviews is already banned, because this falls under misleading consumers," explains a spokesperson.

"If the proposal is approved, there will be specific rules on fake reviews. Now there are only general rules."

ACM is already responsible for enforcement.

The regulator says it keeps an eye on the market and complaints from consumers, among other things.

"But we have to divide our forces over a very large field of activity."

The spokesperson cannot yet say whether the current policy will be adjusted if the bill is approved.

Dutch companies that break the rules can now also be fined.

If the new rules are introduced, it will be easier for ACM to cooperate with other European supervisors if a company violates the rules in several Member States.

If a company does not act on a warning, regulators in one or more member states can impose a fine.

This amounts to at least 4 percent of the turnover of that company in the country concerned.

3. What measures can websites take to prevent fake reviews?

According to the Consumers' Association, websites can take a number of measures to prevent fake reviews.

For example, companies can choose to only allow reviews from real customers, for example by giving only them the chance to respond via a link in an email.

"Most companies already use such a system," says a spokesperson for Thuiswinkel Waarborg, a quality mark for online stores in the Netherlands.

According to her, the new rules do not lead to a lot of extra work for online stores.

Moreover, such a system also makes it easier to spot fake reviews, she emphasizes.

Another option, according to the Consumers' Association, is to manually check all reviews, although that is probably too much work for large companies.

Checking IP addresses is also possible.

If there are many reviews from the same IP address, it could indicate malicious practices.

4. Is the plan final yet?

Not yet.

The bill was sent to the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening by outgoing Minister Stef Blok (Economic Affairs and Climate) and also on behalf of outgoing Minister Sander Dekker (Legal Protection).

First, the House of Representatives must assess the proposal, after which the Senate must do the same.

It is not yet known when that will happen.

If the proposal is approved, the rules are expected to take effect in May 2022.

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