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Consumer watchdog targets website product reviews and discounts

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Lucy Battersby

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Groupon

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FAKE reviews and group buying sites offering discounts are top of the competition watchdog's hit-list as it moves to police misleading online behaviour.

With more people using review sites for product advice, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is concerned they may be misled by reviews, chairman Rod Sims told Fairfax Media.

''Our concern is that people trust online websites more than they do company advertising, or more than they do reading the newspaper. And yet if those things are not reliable … then that is both unfair to the consumer … and … to competitors.''

The ACCC will next year investigate companies suspected of writing their own reviews or paying for positive reviews, Mr Sims confirmed in a wide-ranging interview.