Businesses that post fake customer reviews could be prosecuted under new EU legislation. The new directive takes effect from 31 December and bans "falsely representing oneself as a consumer".

The law has repercussions for websites and self-appraisers everywhere - from authors who review their own books on Amazon to restaurants that praise their own food.

It's unlikely anyone will be prosecuted under the legislation, but those found responsible could be 'named and shamed' by fair trading officials.

In 2004, several authors were brought to book for self-reviewing their titles on Amazon.