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The Accommodation Association of Australia has welcomed the decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to release best-practice guidance for online product reviews.

The Association’s CEO, Richard Munro, said he was pleased that the ACCC has chosen to address the issue, which will affect both businesses and review platforms.

“The Accommodation Association is pleased that the ACCC has seen fit to go down this path,” he said.

“The Association has led calls for changes to the oversight of online reviews for some time and this is a tangible outcome.

“There are no winners with fake online reviews – they are bad for consumers and even worse for the accommodation businesses who are the subject for them.

“The Association’s view is that a balance of consumer feedback and physical inspection of properties is the ideal outcome and taking steps to ensure the accuracy of online comments and reviews is even more important than ever.”

Munro said the emergence of online reviews is another example of the way the internet is fundamentally changing the nature of the accommodation industry.

“In 2013, the internet is one of the most powerful tools in our industry,” he said.

“As well as online reviews, third-party accommodation booking websites are growing exponentially, while our industry also advocates much closer scrutiny on online businesses which promote non-compliant accommodation in residential homes.

“The Accommodation Association may seek discussions with the ACCC and other relevant regulatory authorities on issues related to these e-businesses as well,” Munro said.