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India announces guidelines to curb fake reviews on e-commerce platforms

The Department of Consumer Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) have launched a framework for curbing fake reviews in e-commerce

What's the news: India's Department of Consumer Affairs, along with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), on November 21 launched "the framework for safeguarding and protecting consumer interest from fake and deceptive reviews in e-commerce," a press release from the Department stated. Titled the Indian Standard (IS) 19000:2022 "Online Consumer Reviews — Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication," the standard will be applicable to all online platforms that publish consumer reviews, the release states. Why does this matter: Reviews are important to the e-commerce shopping experience because buyers cannot physically view or examine a product. But paid and fake reviews degrade trust in the system and could be harmful to consumers. These guidelines could help curb this issue by introducing a better moderation process, but to what extent these guidelines will be effective remains to be seen. Guidelines will be voluntary at first, mandatory later on: "The standard will initially be voluntary for compliance by all e-commerce platforms. BIS will also develop a Conformity Assessment Scheme for the standard to assess compliance," the Department stated. However, it could be made mandatory later on and violation of the standards "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 Commissions or the CCPA," the Department added. What do the standards prescribe: BIS is expected to publish the standards on November 25, when the standard goes into effect, but here are some provisions outlined in the press release: Guiding…

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