‘Fake reviews’ on e-commerce websites: Govt may issue guidelines this week


Soon, customers will get to know whether reviews or star ratings for a product on an e-commerce website are authentic or not, before deciding if they should order that product. This because the Union government is likely to release this week, a set of guidelines to counter ‘fake reviews’ and ‘unverified star ratings’ on e-commerce platforms.

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has finalised the framework and will issue the same.

“The government will publish next week, a framework to counter fake reviews, and unverified star ratings on online shopping websites, hotel and travel booking platforms,” said Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh on Sunday.

The guidelines, Singh said, have been finalised after consultation with stakeholders, adding that initially, these would be voluntary, and made mandatory gradually.

In May, the ministry had announced it would develop a framework with an aim to curb what it described as fake reviews posted on e-commerce websites.

Also Read: Centre to develop framework to curb fake reviews on e-commerce platforms

Why are the new guidelines needed?

Simply because e-commerce gives customers a virtual shopping experience, which means they cannot physically check whether the product is of good quality or not. Therefore, they have to rely on experience of users who have already purchased that particular item.

However, the review or star rating, besides being fake or unverified, may also be as per a user’s individual experience. This may mislead a consumer into ordering that product.

Stakeholders in e-retailers have always maintained they have guidelines in place to monitor such issues.

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(With PTI inputs)

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