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Government panel to develop framework on checking false and misleading reviews in e-commerce

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The Department of Consumer Affairs has established a committee to develop a framework for verifying false and misleading e-commerce reviews.

Under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) was established on 24 July 2020 to regulate matters, among others, relating to false or misleading advertisements which are harmful to consumers. interests of the public and consumers as a class, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs Ashwini Choubey said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The CCPA has issued 24 unfair trade practice advisories against e-commerce companies and issued two safety advisories to alert and urge consumers to avoid purchasing household items such as pressure cookers, headphones, and more. which are not compliant with Bureau of Indian Standards, the response said.

The CCPA notified the Guidelines for the prevention of misleading advertisements and the approvals for misleading advertisements on June 9, 2022. These guidelines provide; (a) the requirements for an advertisement to be non-misleading and valid; (b) certain terms regarding bait advertisements and free advertisements; and, (c) prohibiting substitute advertisements.

The ministry is seeking to develop a framework to control fake reviews posted on e-commerce websites to protect consumer interests.

Earlier, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs along with other stakeholders including the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) held a meeting with stakeholders including e-commerce entities to discuss how whose paid, unverifiable reviews make it difficult for consumers to recognize genuine reviews.