Bell Canada Fined $1.25M for Asking Employees to Post Fake App Reviews

Maybe just fix the app?

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Oct 14 2015, 6:52pm

Great job everyone! Image: Flickr/Nguyen Hung Vu

When Bell Canada launched an app for customers to manage their mobile accounts last year, people were absolutely stoked. At least, that's what reviews said on Apple's App Store and Google Play.

As it turned out, some of those reviews were actually written by high-level Bell employees, and Bell asked them to do it. Now, the company is paying for it.

The Canadian Competition Bureau announced on Wednesday that Bell will no longer encourage its employees to plant totally fake reviews about their own products on the internet, and that Bell will sponsor and host a workshop on trust in the digital economy and the sanctity of online reviews.

Oh, and they were fined $1.25 million.

What initially gave the scam away to skeptics was basically, according to the CBC, that nobody in their right mind could possibly be excited about an app that lets you see how much you've gone over your expensive Canadian data plan this month.

Although Bell was proactive about removing the fake reviews and ratings, "the Bureau determined that these reviews and ratings created the general impression that they were made by independent and impartial consumers and temporarily affected the overall star rating for the apps."

The MyBell Mobile app currently has a 1.5 star rating on the Apple Store with 17 reviews almost all with titles echoing the same sentiment: "Terrible," "Bad," and "Fix it!!!"