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Bureau of Indian Standards


The statement said, “The standard is expected to benefit all stakeholders in the e-commerce ecosystem i.e., consumers, e-commerce platforms, sellers etc. It will help usher in confidence among consumers to purchase goods online and help them take better purchase decisions.”

Game Of Fake Online Reviews, Ratings Is Over. BIS Guidelines To Kick In Today | DETAILS

New Delhi: Every online platform that publishes consumer reviews must abide by the new guidelines issued by the government of India. This move by the government is an extremely necessary one at this age where online shopping has become a day-to-day affair for most urban households. The framework has been prepared by the Bureau Of Indian Standards and will come into effect today, November 25, 2022.

“IS 19000:2022 is the standard that the BIS [Bureau of Indian Standards] has formulated for us, in consultation with us and the industry. Public consultations have taken place. Now, this is ready to be launched. While we unveil the main provisions of this standard today, this will be published on Friday… On 25th [November] this will be in place,” Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said in a press conference.

“Reviews play a critical role in shopping in e-commerce. They are more important in three sectors — tour and travel; restaurant and eateries; and consumer durables,” Singh added.

This action by the government of India comes amid a slew of complaints about fake reviews across online platforms — the ones that are perfectly worded to manipulate customers into buying things that are not up to the standards.

“We were getting complaints that these reviews are becoming menace… Not only for us but all over the world, countries are struggling with how to handle the fake reviews… All the countries where e-commerce is getting more and more privileged and popular, so they are all struggling with this. Some are making rules; some are making legal provisions. But I think we are the first country… which is making a standard and we will take the standards rule,” Singh said.

While explaining the rationale behind the standards, Singh said, “We do not want to bulldoze the industry. We want to take the standards route. We will first seek voluntary compliance and then, if the menace continues to grow, we will maybe make it mandatory in future depending on what happens.”

“So, if they want to check whether their website is adhering to the standards, they can go to the BIS and get it checked and get it certified. But, if they are not doing it and if they are indulging into a practice of which can then be termed as an unfair trading practice then under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, that deals with unfair trade practices, the CCPA or a consumer court can take penal action. So, this is a sort of a hand holding and a self-regulation,” he said.

Major industry players such as Tata Sons, Amazon, Flipkart, Reliance Retail, Google, Meta (Facebook), Swiggy and Zomato participated in the consultation process that finalized the standards on fake reviews, Singh said. Apart from that,  industry bodies like CII, FICCI and NASSCOM were also part of the consultation process, he added.

“Over the last few years, there has been a steady rise in e-commerce transactions across the country. Taking cognizance of the impact of fake and deceptive reviews and protection of consumer interest in e-commerce, the Department of Consumer Affairs constituted a committee to develop a framework on checking fake and deceptive reviews in e-commerce on 10th June, 2022. The committee included various stakeholders including e-commerce companies, industry associations, consumer organizations and law chairs,” the Department of Consumer Affairs said in a statement.

The statement said, “The standard is expected to benefit all stakeholders in the e-commerce ecosystem i.e., consumers, e-commerce platforms, sellers etc. It will help usher in confidence among consumers to purchase goods online and help them take better purchase decisions.”

“The standard provides for responsibilities of organization including 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 statement said.

“The standard also provides for methods for verification of review author through email address, identification by telephone call or SMS, confirming registration by clicking on a link, using captcha system etc. to check traceability and genuineness of the review author,” it said.

“With respect to moderation, the standard provides for both automated and manual moderation and provides checks for analyzing the review content. As regards to publication, the standard includes considerations for the review administrator at the time of publication process and after the publication process. The accuracy of the review, default display and weightage of ratings are defined in the publication process,” it added.




Published Date: November 25, 2022 8:44 AM IST





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