Ease of doing business for MSMEs: The consumer affairs ministry on Wednesday organised a meeting chaired by the Department of Consumer Affairs Rohit Kumar Singh to “deliberate ways to ensure easier adoption of Standard IS 19000:2022 by MSMEs and startups to boost the confidence of the industry and consumers.” According to a statement issued by the ministry, Singh said the scheme- Conformity Assessment Scheme on IS 19000:2022 was formulated with the objective of certifying the processes related to the collection, moderation and publication of online customer reviews as per IS 19000:2022 to check the publication of fake or misleading reviews.
Importantly, India’s standards body Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) had published the IS 19000:2022 — Online Consumer Reviews – Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication in December last year applicable to businesses that publish consumer reviews online, including suppliers/sellers of products and services that collect reviews from their own customers, a third-party contracted by the suppliers/sellers or an independent third party.
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According to the ministry, the standard is expected to benefit all stakeholders in the e-commerce ecosystem, including consumers, e-commerce platforms, sellers etc. “Over the last few years, there has been a steady rise in e-commerce transactions across the country. Reviews posted online play a significant role in making purchase decisions and consumers exceedingly rely on reviews posted on e-commerce platforms to see the opinion and experience of users who have already purchased the goods or services,” the ministry had said last month.
The standards are initially voluntary for e-commerce platforms to comply with. It provides for methods for verification of customer posting reviews via email address, identification by telephone call or SMS, confirming registration by clicking on a link, using captcha system etc. to check the traceability and genuineness of the person. Moreover, it also notes the responsibilities of e-commerce platforms for developing a code of practice and necessary stipulations for terms and conditions like accessibility, criteria, and ensuring content does not contain financial information etc, the ministry had said.
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During a consumer protection workshop in Assam on December 2, 2022, Singh had noted that with the changing equation between consumer and supplier, especially through e-commerce, there has been a steep rise in consumer grievances registered in the e-commerce sector at National Consumer Helpline (NCH). Out of the 90,000 complaints registered in NCH every month, 45-50 per cent of the total complaints pertain to e-commerce, he added.
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