PIB | 26 May, 2022
To gauge the magnitude of fake reviews on
E-Commerce platforms which mislead consumers into buying online services or
products and to prepare a roadmap ahead, the Department of Consumer Affairs
(DoCA) in association with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)
will be holding a virtual meeting on Friday, May 27 along with various
The discussions will be broadly based on the
impact of fake and misleading reviews on consumers and possible measures to
prevent such anomaly.
In this regard, Secretary DoCA, Rohit Kumar Singh
has written to all stakeholders: E-Commerce entities like Flipkart, Amazon,
Tata Sons, Reliance Retail and others besides, Consumer Forums, Law
Universities, Lawyers, FICCI, CII, Consumer Rights Activists etc. to
participate in the meeting.
Along with the letter, Singh has also shared
a Press Release of European Commission dated January 20th, 2022
highlighting results of an EU-wide screening on online consumer reviews across
223 major websites.
The screening results underlines that at least
55% of the websites violate the unfair commercial Practices Directive of the
E.U. which requires truthful information to be presented to consumers to make
an informed choice.
Further, in 144 out of the 223 websites checked,
the authorities could not confirm that traders were doing enough to ensure that
reviews were authentic, i.e., if they were posted by consumers who had actually
used the product or service that was reviewed.
The letter states that ‘It is relevant to mention
that with growing internet and smartphone use, consumers are increasingly
shopping online to purchase goods and services.
Given that e-commerce involves a virtual shopping
experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product,
consumers heavily rely on reviews posted on e-commerce platforms to see the
opinion and experience of user who have already purchased the goods or service.
As a result, due to fake and misleading reviews,
the right to be informed, which is a consumer right under the Consumer Protection
Act, 2019 is violated.’
‘Since the issue impacts people shopping online
on a daily basis and has a significant impact on their rights as a consumer, it
is important that it is examined with greater scrutiny and detail,’ the letter