Centre to develop framework to curb fake reviews on e-commerce platforms
Online customers rely heavily on the reviews posted on the e-commerce platforms given their inability to physically inspect the product.
In a bid to protect consumer interest, the central government on Saturday announced that it will develop a framework aimed at curbing fake reviews posted on e-commerce websites. The ministry of consumer affairs, food & public distribution, along with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), held a virtual meeting with various stakeholders, including e-commerce entities, to discuss the magnitude of fake reviews on their platforms, which mislead consumers into buying online products and services.
Online customers rely heavily on the reviews posted on the e-commerce platforms given their inability to physically inspect the product. This makes them vulnerable to fake reviews when they look for the opinions and experiences of users who have already purchased the good or service online.
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The consumer affairs ministry said in a statement that the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) will develop these frameworks after studying the best practices available globally and the current mechanism being followed by e-Commerce platforms in India.
“Traceability by ensuring the authenticity of the reviewer and the associated liability of the platform are the two key issues here. Also e-com players must disclose as to how they choose the “most relevant reviews” for display in a fair and transparent manner,” said Secretary DoCA, Shri Rohit Kumar Singh said.
Consumer forums, law universities, lawyers, FICCI, CII and consumer rights activists, among others, participated in the meeting where they discussed a roadmap ahead for fake reviews on websites. The ministry said that all stakeholders agreed that the issue deserves to be monitored closely and an appropriate framework governing the fake reviews may be developed.
Stakeholders from e-commerce companies claimed that they have frameworks in place by which they monitor fake reviews and would be pleased to take part in developing a legal framework on the issue, the statement said.