Bloomberg News

Edmunds.com Sues Texas Company Claiming Fake Dealer Ratings (1)

July 23, 2013

Edmunds.com, the online automotive research publisher, sued Humankind Design Ltd., accusing the Texas company of trying to register 2,200 fake accounts to generate bogus car-dealer ratings.

Humankind attempted to create the fake member profiles on the site to sway car shoppers’ opinions of dealers, Edmunds said in a complaint filed in state court in Galveston, Texas.

“Unlike many ratings services, we don’t publish any dealer reviews until they are hand-screened by our staff members to make sure that they are compliant with our standards,” Edmunds President Seth Berkowitz said today in a statement.

Justin Anderson, Humankind’s proprietor, who operates the websites www.humankindinc.com and www.glowingreviews.com, said today he hadn’t seen a copy of the Edmunds lawsuit. He denied any wrongdoing by his Friendswood, Texas-based company.

“I can definitely categorically say their accusations are incorrect both in the quantity of reviews and the assertion that we’re posting fake reviews,” Anderson said in a phone interview.

Anderson said the accusations are “completely fabricated” and not related to his company’s business. Humankind transcribes customer comment cards from car dealerships and posts them online, Anderson said.

“All we do is streamline the process for the dealership,” Anderson said. “If we’re violating any of their rules, we’re happy to work with them to come into compliance.”

Edmunds alleged that the reviews Humankind submitted to the website “do not reflect an actual experience of any person” but are fabricated to lure new customers to dealerships that are the subject of “glowing” reviews.

The case is Edmunds.com Inc. v Humankind Design Ltd., 13-cv-0946, 405th Judicial District Court, Galveston County, Texas (Galveston).

To contact the reporter on this story: Sophia Pearson in Philadelphia at spearson3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Dunn at adunn8@bloomberg.net.


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