In an effort to make e-commerce websites like Zomato, Swiggy, Google, Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, Amazon, Flipkart, and others more dependable, authentic, and non-misleading for consumers, the central government of India released guidelines on Monday against fake consumer reviews and unverified ratings. Reportedly, the new regulations would go into force on November 26 the following week.
The country’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) took the initiative to safeguard consumers’ interests, and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will enforce it in accordance with the new standard titled Indian Standard 19000:2022 ‘Online Consumer Reviews – Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation, and Publication’. According to reports, the BIS also developed the regulation.
Consumers may file complaints with the National Consumer Helpline, Consumer Fora, or the CCPA if they believe that a company has violated the rules by doing so. This is according to Rohit Kumar Singh, secretary of India’s Department of Consumer Affairs. He continued by saying that all online platforms that post customer reviews will be subject to the criteria.
According to the rules, the platforms must appoint review administrators to control reviews. This may be done either manually or by enforcing a code of conduct and terms and conditions or by using a code of practise to mechanically remove biases. In the meanwhile, according to the framework, reviews must also include the date of publication and a star rating.
The criteria, which also include particular accountability for the review author and the review administrator, will initially be voluntary for compliance by all e-commerce platforms. Additionally, some of the techniques for author verification involve confirming the author’s email address and confirming their identity over the phone or by SMS. A group comprised of members from e-commerce platforms, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and other stakeholders was established by the DoCA in June of this year.