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In Short:

The Indian government is cracking down on fake product reviews on online marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart. They will now be prohibited from editing or preventing negative reviews. A quality control order (QCO) has been proposed to ensure unbiased reviews. E-commerce firms will now be held accountable for violations, with consequences under the Consumer Protection Act. This move aims to enhance consumer trust in online shopping.

Fake Product Reviews Under Scrutiny

Online marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra are in the spotlight as the government cracks down on fake product reviews. This move aims to tackle the issue that often leads to frustration and financial losses for consumers.

Ensuring Genuine User Feedback

The government is set to introduce a quality control order (QCO) that will require online marketplaces to prevent the publication of biased and prejudiced consumer reviews. According to Nidhi Khare, the secretary of consumer affairs, companies will no longer be allowed to edit user reviews or suppress negative feedback.

The proposed QCO will also ensure that the original content and intent of the reviewer are preserved, promoting transparency in online reviews and encouraging e-commerce firms to address genuine consumer grievances.

Consequences for Violators

E-commerce companies failing to comply with the new norms may face punishment under the Consumer Protection Act and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Violators could have their products delisted from designated portals, as the QCO falls under the purview of the BIS.

Stakeholders’ Response

Stakeholders, including online platforms like Google, Meta, Amazon, and Flipkart, have welcomed the government’s initiative to combat fake reviews. Siva Balakrishnan, CEO of Vserve, emphasized the importance of collective efforts in addressing this issue and restoring marketplace faith.

Enhancing Consumer Trust

By cracking down on fake reviews, the QCO aims to enhance consumer trust and confidence in online platforms, promoting a transparent and accountable marketplace. E-commerce portals will need to implement mechanisms for collecting, moderating, and publishing online reviews in compliance with Indian Standard IS 19000:2022.

The draft QCO will be open for public consultation, allowing stakeholders and the public to provide comments and suggestions within a specified timeframe. This move marks a critical step in protecting consumer interests while shopping online.

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