The cult favourite skincare brand have confirmed claims by a former employee that they ordered staff to write reviews for new products
Yesterday a former employee of Sunday Riley took to Reddit to expose the brand for having their staff write fake reviews for their products. Writing in the post, the former employee describes how a lot of the great reviews on sites like Sephora are written by the employees, a practice that was allegedly ordered from the top: “we were forced to write fake reviews for our products on an ongoing basis, which came from Sunday Riley herself and her Head of Sales.”
To back up her claims, the Reddit poster also included an email titled “Homework time,” allegedly sent to employees from the brand which lays everything out. “We need to make sure the reviews for clients stay positive and help generate and [sic] confidence in the products,” the email writes, before explaining “credibility is key to the reviews!” The email asks employees to write at least three reviews for products Saturn and Space Race over the next week, encouraging them to write a couple reviews for other brands beforehand to build up a profile history.
It also includes a step-by-step guide to installing a VPN so that the reviews don’t get traced back to their IP addresses, as well as suggestions of what to put in the reviews, for example how Saturn “got rid of your acne after a couple uses;” how to make themselves seem more relatable; and encourages them to specifically counter any negatives points in other reviews, “If you notice someone saying things like I didn’t like ‘x’ about it, write a review that says the opposite.”
The Reddit post was then shared on Instagram by the anonymous Beauty Collective @esteelaundry whose mission, they write in their bio, is to air out the beauty industry’s “dirty laundry.” Shortly after this, Sunday Riley commented on @esteelaundry’s post, confirming the claims:
“The simple and official answer to this Reddit post is that yes, this email was sent by a former employee to several members of our company,” the comment writes. “At one point, we did encourage people to post positive reviews at the launch of this product, consistent with their experiences. There are a lot of reasons for doing that, including the fact that competitors will often post negative reviews of products to swing opinion. It doesn’t really matter what the reasoning was. We have hundreds of thousands of reviews across platforms around the globe and it would be physically impossible for us to have posted even a fraction of these reviews. Client word-of-mouth, sharing how our products have changed their skin, has been the cornerstone of our success. In the end, our products and their results stand for themselves.”
But many people felt this response didn’t go far enough questioning the sincerity of the apology and the deflection of blame in the statement. @yue_yee “Where’s the apology in their post? It seems to be all about deflecting the blame onto their competitors! Pathetic.”