On March 22, 2022, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a compliance bulletin on “Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices That Impede Consumer Reviews.” The bulletin announced that the CFPB would view practices that discourage or hide consumer reviews as unfair or deceptive practices under Sections 1031 and 1036 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act. The CFPB did not rely on any of its own precedents but rather imported concepts from the 2016 Consumer Review Fairness Act (which the CFPB does not enforce) and FTC enforcement actions to inform its analysis. This move raises the stakes for compliance. Director Rohit Chopra is eager to use all of the CFPB’s enforcement tools against companies within the CFPB’s jurisdiction, including the agency’s monetary authority. Companies should review how they handle consumer reviews and make sure that they are not discouraging consumers from leaving negative reviews or engaging in practices that artificially inflate the number of positive reviews.
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