False testimonials land solar company in hot water

A solar power company has been fined $6,000 after admitting to eight breaches of Australian Consumer Law when it published fake testimonials on its website.

At Perth Magistrates Court on 2 October 2020, Suntech Solar Pty Ltd, trading as Ausuntech Energy, pleaded guilty to all charges following a prosecution by Consumer Protection.

The court was told that the business copied eight testimonials from the websites of other solar or electrical firms. The text was altered so the feedback referred to Suntech Solar, which operates nationally and has an office in Canning Vale.

The original reviewers’ names were also changed and WA or NSW locations were added when the fictitious testimonials appeared on the Ausuntech Energy website.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said the testimonials were published online for more than two years and could have misled consumers.

“Now more than ever, online reviews and ratings are key factors for people when researching a company’s reputation and choosing who they conduct business with,”

Ms Lipscombe said.

“Fictitious testimonials are not only illegal, they diminish the trust and good faith between traders and consumers, particularly when the reviews are lifted directly from competitors’ websites.

“This case should remind all businesses of their obligations to understand and comply with relevant laws.”

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