The Centre will develop a framework to keep a check on fake reviews on e-commerce websites, said the Ministry of Consumer Affairs on Saturday.
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) after studying the present mechanism being followed by the e-commerce entities in India and best practices available globally, will develop these frameworks.
DoCA in association with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) along with various stakeholders like -commerce entities, consumer forums, law universities, lawyers, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), consumer rights activists and others in a meeting discussed the magnitude and roadmap ahead for fake reviews on websites.
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 good or service, noted the DoCA.
"Traceability by ensuring the authenticity of the reviewer and the associated liability of the platform are the two key issues here. Also, e-commerce players must disclose as to how they choose the most relevant reviews for display in a fair and transparent manner," said DoCA Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh.
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 pleased to take part in developing a legal framework on the issue, informed the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
Advertising Standards Council of India highlighted the categories of fake and misleading reviews and their impact on consumer interest.
Discussions also occurred on paid reviews, unverifiable reviews and absence of disclosure in case of incentivised reviews which make it challenging for consumers to recognize genuine reviews, the Ministry said.