Popular skincare brand Sunday Riley has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after allegations that the company posted fake reviews on Sephora's website.
The FTC received a complaint that reviews were posted on multiple occasions between November 2015 and August 2017.
"Calls for employees to write reviews were associated with, but not limited to, the launches of new products," the complaint read.
Sunday Riley was charged with two violations which included false or misleading endorsement claims as well as deceptive failure to disclose material connections with endorsers. The settlement does not force Sunday Riley to admit any wrongdoing.
Sunday Riley and Sephora have not responded to ABC News' request for comment.
The cult-favorite beauty brand was initially called out by a Reddit user that posted a thread titled "[PSA] Sunday Riley Employee: We Write Fake Sephora Reviews."
"This is a throwaway account because Sunday Riley is majorly vindictive," the post stated. "I'm sharing this because I'm no longer an employee there and they are one of the most awful places to work, but especially for the people who shop us at Sephora, because a lot of the really great reviews you read are fake."
An email that appeared to be sent to Sunday Riley employees was also posted on Reddit. In the email, employees were asked to write at least three reviews, including how to write positive ones that would not be flagged by Sephora.
"If you skip any of step 2-5, it's a waste of time because your review will be pulled," the email stated.
Sunday Riley immediately responded to the Reddit user with a post addressing and admitting to the issue.
"At one point, we did encourage people to post positive reviews at the launch of this product, consistent with their experiences," the brand wrote. "There are a lot of reason for doing that, including the fact that competitors will often post negative reviews of products to swing opinion."
Many were shocked to hear of Sunday Riley's actions.
"I just read about the Sunday Riley 'fake review' scandal and I have to say...they didn't even need to do all of this?" said Out Magazine editor-in-chief Philip Picardi in a Twitter post.
I just read about the Sunday Riley 'fake review' scandal and I have to say...they didn't even need to do all of this? Their products are actually so good that I am CONFUSED. Ceramic Slip? Good Genes?! STAPLES of my skin routine.— Phillip Picardi (@pfpicardi) October 22, 2019
Under the new settlement, the company is prohibited from posting fake reviews again.
FTC Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter filed a dissent, saying, "Regulators around the world are concerned about fake review fraud. But by proposing a no-money, no-fault order for an unambiguous violation of law, this action does little to address the epidemic of fake reviews online."
"Going forward, the FTC should seek monetary consequences for fake review fraud, even if the exact level of ill-gotten gains is difficult to measure," they continued. "The agency should also comprehensively analyze the problem of fake reviews, including whether or not ecommerce firms have the right incentives to police their platforms."