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Centre to develop framework to check fake reviews on E-Commerce websites

The framework will be developed by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) after studying the present mechanism being followed by the E-Commerce entities in India

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Centre has decided to develop a framework to keep a check on fake reviews on E-Commerce websites.

The framework will be developed by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) after studying the present mechanism being followed by the E-Commerce entities in India and the best practices available globally.

The DoCA discussed the magnitude and roadmap ahead for fake reviews on websites in a meeting with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and various stakeholders like E-Commerce entities, Consumer Forums, Law Universities, Lawyers, FICCI, CII and Consumer Rights Activists.

Since e-commerce involves a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product, consumers heavily rely on reviews posted on e-commerce platforms to see the opinion and experiences 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 how they choose the “most relevant reviews” for display in a fair and transparent manner,” said Rohit Kumar Secretary, DoCA.

All stakeholders agreed that the issue deserves to be monitored closely and an appropriate framework governing the fake reviews may be developed to address the issue for the 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 happy to take part in developing a legal framework on the issue.

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