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In consumers’ interest, Govt will issue guidelines to check fake reviews soon


The Central government will next week release the guidelines to check fake reviews and unverified star ratings on e-commerce websites, hotels, and travel booking platforms, said Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh, as quoted by news agency PTI.

E-commerce platforms give virtual shopping experiences to their customers, without any opportunity to physically examine the product. 

Hence, the customers only rely on reviews posted on these portals to see the opinion and experienced users who have already purchased the goods or services. However, fake reviews and star ratings mislead consumers into buying online products on these platforms.

To protect consumers’ interests and check fake reviews online, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) has finalized the frameworks after studying the current mechanism being followed by the e-commerce entities in India and the best practices available globally.

Speaking to PTI, Singh said, “After consultation with stakeholders, we have finalized frameworks to counter fake reviews. The BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) has also come out with a standard. The frameworks for fake review management will be published next week.”

“Initially, it will be voluntary and gradually will be made mandatory,” he added.

The government official also added that probably, India will be the first country to have developed frameworks for fake review management.

Earlier in June this year, Singh informed that the government has constituted a committee with representatives of e-commerce firms, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), CII and other stakeholders to develop the framework.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has also stated that fake and misleading reviews violate a consumer’s right under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

According to an EU-wide screening of online consumer reviews across 223 major websites, about 55% of the websites violate the unfair commercial practices directive of the EU which requires truthful information to be presented to consumers to make an informed choice.

 

(With PTI inputs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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