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Consumer Affairs crackdown on fake online reviews, Quality Control Order issued

Consumer Affairs crackdown on fake online reviews, Quality Control Order issued

The Department of Consumer Affairs has convened a meeting to address the issue of online fake reviews, which have seen a significant surge in recent years. A new standard, IS 19000:2022, has been launched to govern the collection, moderation, and publication of online consumer reviews.

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The draft Quality Control Order proposes stringent measures to ensure only genuine reviews are published. The draft Quality Control Order proposes stringent measures to ensure only genuine reviews are published.

In a stakeholder consultation convened by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Nidhi Khare, Secretary of the Department, chaired the meeting to address the pressing issue of protecting consumer interest from online fake reviews. The gathering highlighted the escalating number of consumer grievances related to e-commerce platforms, reaching 4,44,034 in 2023, a significant surge from 95,270 in 2018.

E-commerce, offering a virtual shopping experience, heavily relies on consumer reviews to guide potential buyers who cannot physically inspect products. However, the proliferation of fake reviews threatens the credibility of these platforms and can mislead consumers.

In response to this challenge, the Department launched the Indian Standard (IS) 19000:2022, outlining principles and requirements for the collection, moderation, and publication of online consumer reviews. This standard emphasizes integrity, accuracy, privacy, and transparency, among other key principles.

The draft Quality Control Order (QCO) proposes stringent measures to ensure genuine reviews are published. Prohibitions include publishing biased or prejudiced reviews, altering review messages, or discouraging negative feedback.

Stakeholders, including major online platforms, industry bodies, consumer associations, and noted activists like Pushpa Girimji, welcomed the initiative. The consensus among participants underscored the importance of combating fake reviews to safeguard consumer interests in the burgeoning online shopping landscape.

Edited By: Puja Mahanta
Published On: May 15, 2024