Norms to prevent fake reviews soon  | The Financial Express

Norms to prevent fake reviews soon 

Industry bodies like CII, FICCI, Assocham, Nasscom, ASCI, NRAI and CAIT were also consulted in the process.

Norms to prevent fake reviews soon 
BIS will also develop a conformity assessment scheme for the standards within 15 days to assess compliance.

To protect consumers from fake and deceptive reviews and unverified star ratings about the products and services sold through e-commerce sites, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will notify the standards in this regard on Friday.

According to Rohit Kumar Singh, secretary, department of consumer affairs, the standards, which have been formulated in consultation with major e-commerce platforms and industry associations would be voluntary in nature to start with. The standard would be applicable to online platforms which publish consumer reviews.

The BIS, which will notify Indian Standard (IS) 19000:2022  – Online Consumer Reviews — Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication, on November 26 also has provisions for verification of the review author, moderation, and publication process among other provisions.

“We are probably the first country in the world to formulate a standard for online reviews,” Singh said. He stated that many other countries are also grappling with the issue of handling the fake reviews.

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BIS will also develop a conformity assessment scheme for the standards within 15 days to assess compliance. The standard also prescribes specific responsibilities for the review author and the review administrator.

“Violation of the standards by any entity may be considered as an unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights and a consumer may submit such grievances to the national consumer helpline, consumer fora or the central consumer protection authority,” Singh said.

He said that the department would first assess voluntary compliance and “then, if the menace continues to grow, we will, maybe, make it mandatory in the future”.

The standards will be applicable to any organisation which publishes consumer reviews online, including suppliers of products and services that collect reviews from their own customers, a third party contracted by the supplier or an independent third party.

It states that for the review author, these include confirming acceptance of terms and conditions, and providing contact information and for review administrators, these include safeguarding personal information and training of staff.

According to officials, there has been a steady rise in e-commerce transactions across the country and reviews posted online play a significant role in making consumer purchase decisions.

“Since e-commerce involves a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product, consumers exceedingly rely on reviews posted on e-commerce platforms to see the opinion and experiences of users who have already purchased the good or service,” Singh said.

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The official stated that companies including Zomato, Swiggy, Reliance Retail, Tata Sons, Amazon, Flipkart, Google, Meta, Mesho, Blinkit and Zepto were part of the consultation process for making BIS standards on fake reviews and they have assured compliance with these standards.

Industry bodies like CII, FICCI, Assocham, Nasscom, ASCI, NRAI and CAIT were also consulted in the process.

On June 10, due to reports about the impact of fake and deceptive reviews and protection of consumer interest in e-commerce, the consumer affaris department had constituted a committee to develop framework on checking fake and deceptive reviews on e-commerce sites.

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First published on: 22-11-2022 at 04:50 IST