Centre to develop framework to check fake reviews on ecommerce websites

The government will take a decision after studying the present mechanism being followed by ecommerce entities in India and the best practices available globally.

The government is looking to develop a framework to keep check about fake reviews on ecommerce websites.

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), after studying the present mechanism being followed by the ecommerce entities in India and the best practices available globally, will develop these frameworks, the government said in a statement.

In a meeting, DoCA, along with Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), Consumer Forums, Law Universities, Lawyers, FICCI, CII, and Consumer Rights Activists, discussed the magnitude and roadmap ahead for fake reviews on websites.

“Traceability by ensuring the authenticity of the reviewer and the associated liability of the platform are the two key issues here. Also, ecomm players must disclose as to how they choose the “most relevant reviews” for display in a fair and transparent manner,” said Rohit Kumar Singh, 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 protection of consumer interest.

Paid reviews, unverifiable reviews, and absence of disclosure in case of incentivised reviews, which make it challenging for consumers to recognise genuine reviews, were among the issues discussed, an official statement said.

Manisha Kapoor, CEO, ASCI, highlighted the categories of fake and misleading reviews and their impact on consumer interest.

The meeting was also attended by Nidhi Khare, additional secretary; and Anupam Mishra, joint secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Since ecommerce involves a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product, consumers heavily rely on reviews posted on ecommerce platforms to see the opinion and experience of users who have already purchased the good or service, the statement added.

Edited by Megha Reddy