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Government to develop framework to check fake reviews on E-Commerce platforms

Government to develop framework to check fake reviews on E-Commerce platforms

The Centre will develop a framework to keep a check on fake reviews on E-Commerce websites. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) will study the present mechanism being followed by the E-Commerce entities in India and best practices available globally and will develop frameworks, reads a press release.

DoCA in association with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) discussed the issue pertaining to fake reviews. Various stakeholders: E-Commerce entities, Consumer Forums, Law Universities, Lawyers, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Consumer Rights Activists and others in a meeting discussed along with DoCA and ASCI the magnitude and roadmap ahead for fake reviews on websites.

Since e-commerce involves an online shopping experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product, consumers totally rely on reviews posted on e-commerce platforms to see the opinion and experience of users who have already purchased the goods or service.

“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.” Secretary DoCA, Rohit Kumar Singh said.

All stakeholders unanimously agreed that the issue deserves to be monitored closely. They are of the view that an appropriate framework governing the fake reviews may be developed to address the issue for protection of consumer interest.

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.

Manisha Kapoor, CEO, ASCI highlighted the categories of fake and misleading reviews and their impact on consumer interest. Paid reviews, unverifiable reviews and absence of disclosure in case of incentivised reviews which make it challenging for consumers to recognize genuine reviews were among the issues discussed.

Along with Secretary DoCA, Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary and Anupam Mishra, Joint Secretary attended the meeting. 

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