If any e-commerce platform does not adhere to new guidelines and indulges in unfair trade practices, then “under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) or a consumer court can take penal action,” consumer affairs secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said, at a press conference.
Framework to crackdown fake reviews
“It is not a judicial order. We developed a framework and we want e-commerce entities to adopt and adhere to the standard. If an organisation wants to check if its website is adhering to the BIS standards, it can go to BIS and get it checked and certified,” said Singh.
The guidelines offer ways to ‘verify a review author’ through email, telephone or text message to confirm the registration, or by clicking a link, and using a captcha system to establish the genuineness, the Centre added. Disclosure is apparently an important factor and the organisations will have to be transparent about the methodology that is used to rate the products.
The Department of Consumer Affairs set up a committee in June to design a framework for reviewing fake and deceptive ratings in e-commerce platforms. Under the framework, the e-commerce companies or food delivery restaurants need to have a code of practice in place with necessary terms and conditions for accessibility. The organisation will have to monitor online reviews and ensure that the content does not have any financial information.