The Department of Consumer Affairs and the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) held a virtual meeting on Friday with stakeholders, including e-commerce entities, to discuss the extent of fake reviews on their platforms.
Fake reviews trick consumers into buying products and services online.
According to an official statement, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) will develop these frameworks after studying the current mechanism followed by e-commerce entities in India and the best practices available globally.
Consumer forums, law schools, lawyers, FICCI, CII and consumer rights activists, among others, attended the meeting to discuss the scale of the problem and the roadmap ahead. for fake reviews on websites.
Since e-commerce involves a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically see or examine the product, consumers rely heavily on reviews posted on platforms to know the opinion and experience of users. who have already purchased the good or service.
“Traceability by ensuring the authenticity of the author of the review and the associated liability of the platform are the two key issues here. In addition, e-commerce players must disclose how they choose the “most relevant “to be displayed in a fair and transparent manner,” said Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh.
All stakeholders agreed that the issue merited close monitoring and that an appropriate framework governing fake reviews should be developed to protect consumer interests, according to the statement.
Stakeholders from e-commerce companies said they have frameworks in place to monitor fake reviews and would be happy to participate in developing a legal framework on the matter, he added.
Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary and Anupam Mishra, Joint Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs also attended the meeting.
Manisha Kapoor, CEO of ASCI, highlighted the categories of false and misleading reviews and their impact on consumer interest.
Issues discussed at the meeting included how paid reviews, unverifiable reviews, and the lack of disclosure in case of incentivized reviews make it difficult for consumers to recognize genuine reviews.