BIS Issues Standards for Organisations Publishing Consumer Reviews
Moneylife Digital Team/ IANS 13 December 2022

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the national standard body, has issued standards for organisations publishing consumer reviews. The standard prescribes specific responsibilities for the review author and the review administrator.
BIS has come out with an Indian Standard, IS 19000:2022, Online Consumer Reviews - Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication.

It lays down the process, which demonstrates the commitment of consumer review sites that value their customers and provide reviews that can be trusted.

The standard prescribes specific responsibilities for the review author and the review administrator. For the review author, these include confirming acceptance of terms and conditions and providing contact information; and, for the review administrator, these include safeguarding personal information and training staff.

Once made mandatory, if required, the violation of the standards by any entity may be considered as an unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights and a consumer may submit such grievances to the national consumer helpline, consumer commissions or the CCPA (central consumer protection authority).

The standard provides for the responsibilities of an organisation, including developing a code of practice and necessary stipulations for terms & conditions like accessibility, criteria, and ensuring content does not contain financial information etc.

The standard also provides for methods for verification of the review author through email address, identification by telephone call or SMS, confirming registration by clicking on a link, using a captcha system etc, to check the traceability and genuineness of the review author.

With respect to moderation, the standard provides for both automated and manual moderation and provides checks for analysing the review content. As regards publication, the standard includes considerations for the review administrator at the time of publication process and after the publication process. The accuracy of the review, default display and weightage of ratings are defined in the publication process.

It would help build confidence among consumers to purchase goods online and help them make better purchase decisions.
The standard is expected to benefit all stakeholders in the e-commerce ecosystem, i.e., consumers, e-commerce platforms, sellers, etc.
Over the past few years, there has been a steady rise in e-commerce transactions across the country.
Reviews posted online play a significant role in making purchase decisions and consumers exceedingly rely on reviews posted on e-commerce platforms to see the opinion and experiences of users who have already purchased the goods or services.
This standard provides requirements and recommendations for the principles and methods for review administrators to apply in their collection, moderation and publication of online consumer reviews.
The standard prescribes specific responsibilities for the review author and the review administrator.
This standard is applicable to any organisation that publishes consumer reviews online, including suppliers/ sellers of products and services that collect reviews from their own customers, a third party contracted by the suppliers/ sellers or an independent third party.
As online reviews are increasingly influential in consumers' purchasing decisions, it is important to both consumers and suppliers/ sellers that these are managed effectively to build confidence in the quality, integrity, accuracy and transparency of reviews.

2 years ago
This IS should have been in the public domain for people to understand the same and give their views.Also wide publicity through print media /tv/social etc should be given for awareness creation or even a webinar or in major cities contact programmes .Also i have not seen the standard and hope it gives detailed guidelines as to who is responsible and how and where to penalise if the advt is not right.
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