Centre to develop framework to check fake reviews on e-commerce websites

New Delhi Updated: May 28, 2022, 12:54 PM(IST)

Checking fake reviews on e-commerce websites Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

All the stakeholders in the meeting by the Department of Consumer Affairs agreed that fake reviews are a big challenge and concrete steps need to be taken to prevent this and to protect the interest of the customers, as consumers rely heavily on e-commerce website reviews to see the opinion and experiences of users who have already purchased the good or service while purchasing a product as it is a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product.
 

The Union government intends to develop a framework to check fake reviews on e-commerce websites, after a meeting to gauge the magnitude of fake reviews on e-commerce platforms which mislead consumers into buying online services or products and to prepare a roadmap ahead by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) on Friday.

“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 how they choose the “most relevant reviews” for display in a fair and transparent manner,” said Secretary DoCA, Shri Rohit Kumar Singh said.

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The meeting involved concerned stakeholders like E-Commerce entities, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), Consumer Forums, Law Universities, Lawyers, FICCI, CII, and Consumer Rights Activists.

All the stakeholders agreed that fake reviews are a big challenge and concrete steps need to be taken to prevent this and to protect the interest of the customers.

E-commerce company stakeholders claimed that they already have a mechanism in place to check fake reviews, but added that they wouldn’t mind collaborating with the government to develop a framework.

Consumers rely heavily on e-commerce website reviews to see the opinion and experiences of users who have already purchased the good or service while purchasing a product as it is a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product.

 

Singh also shared a Press Release of the European Commission dated January 20th, 2022 highlighting the results of an EU-wide screening of online consumer reviews across 223 major websites.

The screening results underline that at least 55% of the websites violate the unfair commercial Practices Directive of the E.U. which requires truthful information to be presented to consumers to make an informed choice. 

Further, in 144 out of the 223 websites checked, the authorities could not confirm that traders were doing enough to ensure that reviews were authentic, i.e., if they were posted by consumers who had actually used the product or service that was reviewed.

 

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