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

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

E-commerce platforms provide a virtual shopping experience to their customers without any opportunity to physically check the product.

As a result, customers rely solely on reviews posted on these portals to view opinions and experienced users who have purchased goods or services. However, fake reviews and star ratings confuse consumers when buying products online on these platforms.

To protect the interests of consumers and check for fake reviews online, the Bureau of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) has finalized the frameworks after studying the current mechanism being used by organizations. e-commerce in India follows and best practices are available globally.

Speaking to PTI, Singh said: “After consulting with stakeholders, we have finalized the frameworks to combat fake reviews. BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) also came up with a standard. The frameworks for managing fake reviews will be published next week.”

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

The government official also added that it is possible that India will be the first country to develop a framework for managing fake reviews.

Earlier this June, Singh announced that the government had formed a committee with representatives of e-commerce companies, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), CII and other stakeholders to framework development.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has also stated that fake and misleading reviews violates the rights of consumers under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

According to an EU-wide screening of online consumer reviews on 223 major websites, around 55% of websites violate the EU unfair trade practices directive, which requires providing honest information for consumers to make informed choices.

(With PTI input)

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