NEW DELHI: The Confederation of All India Traders ( CAIT ) has urged the Union Government for an early roll out a well defined and a robust policy to protect the consumers from fake and deceptive reviews for products as such reviews influence the choice of consumers to a great extent thereby constitute an act to cheat the consumers for depriving them from getting right value for their spendings. In this context, the Brand Endorsers, social media influencers, bloggers on goods & services should be brought under the ambit of policy on fake & deceptive reviews-said CAIT. It further said that describing rating of a product or services should also made part of a policy framework for reviews.
It is to be noted that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs while taking a serious view on this critical issue has constituted a Committee on 10th June, 2022 for protection of consumer interest from fake and deceptive reviews in e-commerce and based on a study on best global practices, the Ministry is expected to draw a framework to curb fake & deceptive reviews. The CAIT also opined that fake & deceptive reviews do occur in physical marketing also and such reviews may also be included under the policy beside e-commerce. The CAIT is also a member of the said committee.
CAIT National President Mr B C Bhartia & Secretary General Mr Praveen Khandelwal said that “any review that is not an actual consumer’s honest and impartial opinion, or that does not reflect a consumer’s genuine experience of a product, service or business.” Is a fake & deceptive review. In a current scenario, the trend on purchasing from e-commerce is increasing day by day and in the absence of having a physical touch & feel experience, reviews and ratings of goods & services assumes much significance in impacting the choice of consumers as more & more customers generally go through the reviews and ratings of the products & services and decide what to purchase. Therefore, fake & deceptive reviews deceive the consumers and their choice .
Mr Bhartia & Mr Khandelwal said that in this context, the role of brand ambassadors or endorsers or social media influencers or bloggers also amounts to a review which greatly influence the mindset of consumers and falls under the definition of review and must be brought under the framework to curb fake & deceptive reviews. It’s a known secret that all such endorsers, influencers or bloggers provide their services against some specified consideration and therefore can’t be treated as impartial. The trade leaders quoted an example where a female is endorsing a male product or describing a product good by an endorser even not using the same amounts to fake & deceptive review. Likewise giving rating by expressing in words or by way of writing without using a product also falls under fake & deceptive review. There are many such other examples of doctored reviews or ratings from which the consumers need to be protected. Bringing such sort of reviews and ratings under the framework of a policy will surely protect the consumers and their rights.