Fake reviews on e-tailers under Centre’s radar

In this regard, the DoCA, in association with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), will hold a virtual meeting on May 27, 2022, along with various stakeholders to gauge the magnitude of fake reviews on such platforms, as per an official statement issued on Thursday.
Fake reviews on e-tailers under Centre’s radar
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NEW DELHI: E-commerce platforms, which mislead consumers into buying online services or products using fake reviews, have come under the radar of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA).

In this regard, the DoCA, in association with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), will hold a virtual meeting on May 27, 2022, along with various stakeholders to gauge the magnitude of fake reviews on such platforms, as per an official statement issued on Thursday.

Entities like Flipkart, Amazon, Tata Sons, Reliance Retail and others, besides, consumer forums, law universities, lawyers, FICCI, CII, consumer rights activists have been asked to participate in the meeting. The discussions will broadly be based on the impact of fake and misleading reviews on consumers and possible measures to prevent such anomalies. While calling the meeting, DoCA Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh shared a media statement of the European Commission dated January 20, 2022, highlighting results of an EU-wide screening on online consumer reviews across 223 major websites. The screening results underlined that at least 55% of the websites violate the unfair commercial practices directive of the EU which requires truthful information to be presented to consumers so they can make an informed choice.

Further, in 144 out of the 223 websites checked, the authorities could not confirm whether traders were doing enough to ensure that reviews were authentic.

“It is relevant to mention that with growing internet and smartphone usage, consumers are increasingly shopping online to purchase goods and services. Given that e-commerce involves a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product, consumers heavily rely on reviews posted on such platforms to see the opinion and experience of users who have already purchased the goods or service. As a result, due to fake and misleading reviews, the right to be informed, which is a consumer right under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is violated,” the letter stated.

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