NAD Recommends TaxSlayer Discontinue #1 Rated Claims Following Challenge by Intuit

New York, NY – June 27, 2019 – Following a challenge by Intuit Inc., the National Advertising Division recommended that TaxSlayer LLC discontinue challenged “#1 Rated” advertising claims, having found that the claims reasonably convey the unsupported message that this rating was based on a reliable and representative survey of consumers using products across the entire tax preparation software category.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBBNP’s self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.

The challenged claims are found in online advertising, as well as a series of commercials and online videos.  Each video depicts different scenarios in which consumers are shown spending their tax refunds and a voiceover states, “Slay your taxes. So you can enjoy your refund. Maximize your refund with TaxSlayer. #1 rated on Trustpilot.” The final art card states, “#1 Rated in the Tax Prep Software Category on Trustpilot. Start free today!” At the bottom of the art card, a disclosure states, “Based on more than 2300 verified customer reviews on Trustpilot. TaxSlayer has 1500+ 5-star reviews, and 84% of TaxSlayer customers rate TaxSlayer Great or Excellent on Trustpilot. Learn more at trustpilot.com/review/taxslayer.”

NAD noted that during the pendency of the challenge, the advertiser modified its claim to state, “Rated #1 in the tax prep software category on Trustpilot among companies with 3500+ reviews.”  However, because the advertiser indicated that it intended to return to the challenged claims should its ranking on Trustpilot change in the future, NAD reviewed both the challenged claims and the modified claim.

NAD concluded that the challenged claims communicated not only that Trustpilot rated TaxSlayer #1 (a claim that was, at one point, accurate), but also the implied message that this rating was based on a reliable and representative survey of consumers using products across the entire tax preparation software category.  NAD noted that although the reviews on Trustpilot represent customer satisfaction and not product comparisons, the claim “Rated #1” is inherently comparative as it ranks products in a category. 

In support of its claims, TaxSlayer relied on the online consumer review evidence collected by Trustpilot. However, NAD determined that Trustpilot’s collection of user reviews does not provide reliable evidence sufficient to support the challenged “Rated #1 claim,” or demonstrate the comparative satisfaction of users of tax preparation software. NAD had a number of concerns with the data, including that other tax prep software companies were underrepresented in the population of online reviews that created the basis for Trustpilot’s score, lack of mechanisms verifying that reviewers are legitimate consumers of the companies they are reviewing, failure to establish that there were reviews from 85% of the market of tax software providers, and insufficient information in the record about how Trustpilot created its rankings based on review data for NAD to evaluate the methodology. NAD recommended that TaxSlayer discontinue the claims, “Number one rated on Trustpilot,”; “#1 Rated in the Tax Prep Software Category on Trustpilot”; “#1 rated on Trustpilot”; as well as the modified claim, “Rated #1 in the tax prep software category on Trustpilot among companies with 3,500+ reviews,” having determined that the modified claim conveyed a misleading and unsupported message.