Govt Doesn’t Want Fake Reviews On Amazon, Flipkart & Other Shopping Apps; High Level Meetings Held

Govt Doesn't Want Fake Reviews On Amazon, Flipkart & Other Shopping Apps; High Level Meetings Held
Govt Doesn’t Want Fake Reviews On Amazon, Flipkart & Other Shopping Apps; High Level Meetings Held

The consumer affairs ministry and Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) held a virtual meeting with e-commerce entities to discuss the issue of fake reviews on their platforms, which mislead consumers into buying the reviewed products.

Focus Of Discussions

The meeting’s purpose is to prepare a roadmap ahead.

The focus of the talks will be on the impact of fake and misleading reviews on consumers and possible measures to prevent the issue.

Stakeholders Involved

Consumer affairs secretary Rohit Kumar Singh has written to all stakeholders to participate in the meeting: 

  • E-commerce entities like Flipkart, Amazon, Tata Sons, Reliance Retail and others
  • Consumer forums
  • Law universities
  • Lawyers
  • FICCI
  • CII
  • Consumer rights activists, etc. 

EU Study Results

The secretary shared the results of a EU-wide screening on online consumer reviews across 223 major websites with stakeholders.

According to that, at least 55 per cent of the websites violate the unfair commercial practices directive of the EU, which requires truthful information to be presented to consumers to make an informed choice.

These websites “do not inform” consumers of how reviews are collected and processed.

Majority Of Platforms Guilty

The EU also found that only 84 websites make such info accessible to consumers on the review page itself. 

188 of the 223 sites did not contain information about how the fake reviews are prevented.

176 sites do not mention that incentivised reviews are prohibited by their internal policies.

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

New Online Buyers Require Protection

The authenticity could be verified if the reviews were posted by consumers who had actually used the product or service.

The secretary wrote in a letter that more and more consumers are moving online for shopping with growing internet and smartphone use.

This puts them in a vulnerable position since fake reviews might trick them into buying poor products since they themselves can’t physically view or examine the product.

Right To Be Informed

As a result they are heavily reliant on customer reviews to see the opinion and experience of users who have already bought that product.

The consumer’s right to be informed under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is violated.

He has called on the issue to be examined with greater scrutiny and detail since the issue affects online shoppers on a daily basis and has a significant impact on their rights as a consumer.

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