Vikash Sharma

In a major decision, the Department of Consumer Affairs on Monday launched framework for protecting consumers' interest from fake and deceptive reviews on e-commerce websites.

The framework titled Indian Standard (IS) 19000:2022 ‘Online Consumer Reviews — Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication was launched by Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs and other senior officers of the department and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

Earlier 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 framework on checking fake and deceptive reviews on e-commerce on June 10, 2022.

As per a PIB release, the standards will be applicable to every online platform which publishes consumer reviews.

Major Highlights

- The standard will initially be voluntary for compliance by all e-commerce platforms.

- BIS will also develop a Conformity Assessment Scheme for the standard within 15 days to assess compliance.

- It prescribes specific responsibilities for the review author and the review administrator.

- For review author, these include confirming acceptance of terms and conditions, providing contact information and for review administrator these include safeguarding personal information and training of staff.

Violation of the standards by any entity may be considered as an unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights and a consumer may submit such grievances to the National consumer helpline, consumer fora, or the CCPA.

“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,” the release added