India to crack down on e-commerce fake reviews

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Stakeholders from e-commerce companies had then claimed that they have frameworks in place by which they monitor fake reviews…reports Asian Lite News

Days after meeting stakeholders, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) on Friday said it will be developing a framework to keep check over fake reviews on e-commerce websites within 60 days.

A committee, headed by Additional Secretary Nidhi Khare, has been constituted on Thursday, which has representatives of e-commerce companies, both big and small, some industry organisations, such as the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industries (FICCI), and the Associated Chamber of Commerce (Assocham).

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 experience of users who have already purchased the goods or service.

“We are asking, let us sit together and make a framework. It is not that all of them are favouring fake reviews, they themselves are victims of it too. So, I think, it is a win-win proposition for all the stakeholders,” Consumer Affairs Secretary, Rohit Kumar Singh told media persons.

He said, hopefully in the next 60 days, some kind of framework would be ready. “This is an ailment that will not go away completely but the idea is to make a framework to contain it,” he added.

He highlighted two important issues related to this problem. One is traceability, who has written the review. “Unless until he or she has brought that product or service – the receipt is checked – only then he or she can write the review. A second issue is of business rivalries. Just as there are fake positive reviews, there are fake negative reviews too by business rivals,” the Secretary said.

Earlier, a comprehensive video conference was held where multiple e-commerce websites were invited along with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The Department had then checked what is happening in other geographies – European Union, Australia and even the US. “The EU report is alarming. It says, almost 55 per cent e-commerce companies are not doing anything about fake reviews,” he said.

Stakeholders from e-commerce companies had then 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.

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