Centre takes up surge in online fake reviews with e-com giants, issues draft quality control order

New Delhi, May 15 As consumer complaints related to e-commerce platforms surge in the country, the Department of Consumer Affairs on Wednesday held a stakeholder consultation on the protection of consumer interest from online fake reviews.

Consumer complaints relating to e-commerce platforms on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) surged from 95,270 in 2018 (22 per cent of total grievances) to 4,44,034 in 2023 (43 per cent of total grievances).

"The presence of fake reviews online jeopardises the trustworthiness and credibility of shopping platforms and can cause consumers to make wrong purchase decisions," said the Department, which comes under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

Nidhi Khare, Secretary, of Consumer Affairs, chaired the meeting, attended by representatives from major online platforms such as Google, Meta, Amazon and Flipkart, industry bodies and voluntary consumer associations, among others.

During the meeting, the Department of Consumer Affairs emphasised the growth in online shopping over recent times and the rising number of consumer grievances registered in the e-commerce sector on the NCH.

The discussion on moving towards a "quality control order for IS 19000:2022" was welcomed by stakeholders and a general consensus was reached among them that the issue of fake reviews is important to protect consumer interest while shopping online, and requires to be closely monitored.

The draft quality control order (QCO) will be placed for public consultation for submitting comments within a prescribed time frame. The essential requirements provided under the draft QCO include that the processes for collecting, moderating and publishing online consumer reviews would be done in a manner ensuring that the "reviews that are genuine get published", the Department said.

Source: IANS
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