Fashion Nova to pay $4.2M to settle allegations it blocked negative online reviews

(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Fashion Nova)

The Federal Trade Commission Monday announced it has finalized an order settling allegations that Los Angeles online fashion retailer Fashion Nova blocked negative reviews of its products from being posted to its website.

Under the final order, Fashion Nova will pay $4.2 million and is prohibited from suppressing customer reviews of its products, according to the FTC.

RELATED: Fashion Nova to pay $4.2M to settle claims it blocked negative online reviews

In a complaint first announced in January, the FTC alleged Fashion Nova misrepresented that the product reviews on its website reflected the views of all purchasers who submitted reviews, when in fact it suppressed reviews with ratings lower than four stars out of five.

In addition to the $4.2 million for harm consumers incurred, Fashion Nova is prohibited from making misrepresentations about any customer reviews or other endorsements. It also must post on its website all customer reviews of products currently being sold -- with the exception of reviews that contain obscene, sexually explicit, racist or unlawful content and reviews that are unrelated to the product or customer services like shipping or returns.

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After receiving one comment, the commission voted 4-0 to approve the complaint and settlement order and send a response to the commenter.

Fashion Nova said in a statement in January, when the complaint was announced, that the FTC's allegations are "inaccurate and deceptive."

Fashion Nova "never suppressed any website reviews, and it immediately and voluntarily addressed the website review issues when it became aware of them in 2019," according to the company. "Fashion Nova is highly confident that it would have won in court and only agreed to settle the case to avoid the distraction and legal fees that it would incur in litigation."

The company blamed its reliance on a third-party software vendor, which offered an option to "autopublish" various star ratings in a drop-down menu.

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