Fake online reviews: New guidelines and how will they benefit consumers

With the new guidelines, consumers will have more trust in online reviews. They will be able to rely on reviews that are genuine and not fake.

The new guidelines will help consumers to learn which online review website is trustworthy and which is not. They can also make use of the “score” system, which will provide them with an idea of how trustworthy a review site is.

With these new guidelines, consumers can now easily spot fake reviews and trust what they read.What are the new guidelines
On Monday (November 21), the government announced new standards after constituting a committee on checking fake and deceptive reviews on June 10 earlier this year. The new standard titled “IS 19000:2022” under the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) mandates platforms to have review administrators to moderate reviews to filter (using tools or manually) biased or fraudulent reviews. It also said that the reviews published on the platforms should include the publishing date and ratings.

As per the new rules, consumers will not be allowed to edit their reviews once they have posted them. The consumers who would like to post a review will have to accept the terms and conditions and provide their contact information.

Additionally, if any website is found to have carried fake reviews, it will be penalised for unfair trading practices. The platforms that come under the new standard umbrella include Zomato, Swiggy, Tata Sons, Reliance Retail, Meta and Amazon, among others.

What are fake reviews
Fake reviews may be written by people in an attempt to manipulate a brand’s reputation or harm their competitors. They are usually written by non-customers, and may involve monetary transactions.

How will new rules benefit consumers
It is a general practice that e-commerce websites seek reviews from customers and many of them do post one. Apart from “stars” and texts, the reviews can also include short videos and photos. These reviews not only build the reputation of a company/ brand but also help customers know details about how the product actually works.Before purchasing any product, potential buyers check user reviews to decide whether they should buy a product or not. There have been various instances wherein people posted fake reviews in order to sell a particular product. They mislead other consumers to spend money on a product they might have not chosen/ shortlisted in the first place.

With new rules kicking in, rampant fake reviews will be removed and will allow customers to get a better picture of a business/ product. Consumers will be able to make a more informed choice in purchasing the goods online. It will also push businesses to build a reputation to provide consumers better sales experience.

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