CHENNAI: E-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart will soon have to voluntarily disclose all paid consumer reviews of products and services offered on their platforms, as per the new government norms.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has formulated a new standard 'IS 19000:2022' for Online Consumer Reviews — Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication'.
The standards will be applicable to any organisation which publishes consumer reviews online, including suppliers of products and services that collect reviews from their own customers, a third party contracted by the supplier or an independent third party.
The BIS standards, prepared after extensive stakeholder consultations, will be effective from November 25. It will be voluntary as of now, but the government will consider making them mandatory in case the menace of fake reviews continues on the online platforms.
Consumer affairs secretary Rohit Kumar Singh on Monday said the BIS will come out with a certification process within the next 15 days to check if an organisation is complying with the standards. E-commerce players can apply for the certification of this standard with the BIS.
"We are probably the first country in the world to formulate a standard for online reviews," Singh said, adding that many other countries are also struggling on how to handle the fake reviews.
"We don't want to bulldoze the industry. We want to take the standard route. We will first go for voluntary compliance and then, if the menace continues to grow, we will, maybe, make it mandatory in the future," he said.
The BIS has defined reviews as solicited and unsolicited. The person responsible for handling the review in any organisation will be called the review administrator. Solicited review refers to consumers' reviews requested by the supplier or review administrator.
Singh said reviews should be legitimate, accurate and not misleading. Identity of reviewers should not be disclosed without permission....