More than ninety percent are suspected of having problems with assessment standards, and more than half are suspected of having problems with the integration of business and testing

Can "third-party assessments" be trusted?

Experts pointed out that industry entry thresholds should be set and the review of evaluators should be strengthened

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In recent years, "third-party assessment" has appeared in large numbers, but its evaluation methods and standards are varied, and the quality of assessment is uneven, and it is not uncommon to be suspected of "testing with business" and "testing and raising business". In this regard, experts pointed out that the access conditions for engaging in "third-party evaluation" should be clearly stipulated, and at the same time strengthen the review of evaluators, promote real-name system authentication and commodity information certification, so that evaluators and commodity information can be traced.

lack of assessment standards, self-reliance assessment standards, and inconsistent assessment standards; Exaggerated publicity, false evaluations, evaluation products do not match the real thing, commercial advertising...

Today, the China Consumers Association (hereinafter referred to as the China Consumer Association) released the "Investigation Report on the Impact of "Third-Party Assessment" on Consumer Rights and Interests (hereinafter referred to as the "Report"), showing that 93.1% of "third-party assessments" are suspected of having problems with evaluation standards, among which there are many subjective evaluations that lack evaluation standards.

In addition, the "Report" also shows that 55.7% of the "third-party assessments" are suspected of having a model of integrating commercial testing and commercial maintenance, which is difficult to ensure impartiality; 37.2% of consumers reported that the products purchased through watching the "third-party evaluation" had quality problems; 35.7% of the "third-party assessments" had suspected false evaluation problems.

The entry threshold is low and there are many related accounts

The so-called "third-party evaluation" usually refers to organizations or individuals that have not obtained the national inspection and testing qualification certification and CNAS (China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment) accreditation, claiming to compare the quality, function, design, ingredients, service, cost performance and other aspects of the goods through their own evaluation or citing and comparing professional test results, analyzing research data, expressing subjective use feelings, etc., and publishing and promoting the results mainly through self-media in the form of graphics, videos or live broadcasts. Provide consumers with a purchase reference.

Li Bin, a lawyer at Beijing Zhongwen Law Firm, pointed out that the "third-party assessment" has unofficial characteristics, but the results of its evaluation will objectively affect consumers' purchasing behavior, and objective, fair and scientific evaluation results will help realize consumers' rights and interests such as the right to know, the right to choose, and the right to fair trade. Otherwise, it may mislead consumers and harm the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. At the same time, unobjective, unfair and unscientific evaluation results will also damage the business reputation of business operators and undermine the business environment of fair competition.

The relevant person in charge of the China Consumer Association pointed out that at present, there are many "third-party evaluation" accounts in the market, there are various evaluation methods and standards, the quality of evaluation is uneven, and the phenomenon of suspected business maintenance testing is not uncommon. A small number of "third-party assessments" not only fail to help consumers make correct judgments, but also affect the normal market order.

To this end, the China Consumer Association recently conducted an experiential survey of a total of 12 "third-party evaluation" accounts on 350 Internet platforms, including Douyin, Xiaohongshu, Kuaishou, B Station, and Watermelon Video. The survey found that the entire "third-party evaluation" market is in the early stage of development, with low entry thresholds, scattered characteristics of market participants, and accounts with legal person backgrounds accounting for only 23.4%.

Problems such as lack of evaluation standards and false evaluations are frequent

The experiential survey found that some "third-party assessments" had problems such as lack of assessment standards, self-reliance assessment standards, and inconsistent assessment standards.

For example, when testing a "Meow Xiaoxia milk tablet" product on the Douyin platform account "Little Red Flower Review" in November 2022, it said that other milk tablets containing vegetable fat powder and food flavor could not be safely eaten by children. After showing the ingredient list of the product, I found that the milk tablet has the strongest aroma (the best one out of 11 tested). However, the inclusion of vegetable fat powder and food flavor in milk tablets does not fully indicate that the product is problematic and cannot be edible, and the absence of vegetable fat powder and food flavor does not mean that the product is absolutely assured. The evaluation process is biased, subjective, and lacks effective evaluation standards.

From January to September 2022, Kuaishou platform account "Xiaoyang Digital Circle" conducted temperature tests on different mobile phones four times. After running the game for a certain period of time, use the thermometer to measure the temperature on the front and back of the mobile phone, and comment on the temperature control effect of the mobile phone, the results of the 1 evaluations are quite different, and the standards before and after the evaluation of different brands of mobile phones are different.

The investigation also found that some assessment accounts exaggerated propaganda. For example, the Xiaohongshu platform account "Meow Dadada" exaggerated the two skin care products in the video work, using absolute words to describe the products. The video mentions "instant brightening with a single use" and "the fastest and most powerful effect". There is a phenomenon of exaggerating the efficacy of the product and false publicity.

Some evaluation accounts are suspected of false evaluations and are suspected of unfair competition. For example, when the B-station platform account "Jinhuizhi" evaluated Erin Plain Cream, it said that the brightening effect was limited, the taste was pungent, the marks were left and itchy. After inquiry, the product was mostly positively reviewed by Taobao, Jingdong and Xiaohongshu bloggers, and most of the product consumer feedback did not appear in the situation mentioned by the blogger, considering the positive evaluation of other "third-party evaluation" bloggers, it was judged that the evaluation work was suspected of unfair competition.

There are also many review accounts suspected of commercial advertising. For example, the B station platform account "Dewen Lai" is mainly anti-counterfeiting, and the evaluation method is subjective use experience, and whether the product efficacy is consistent with the advertisement in actual use. However, on November 2022, 11 and 5, 6, it evaluated three products, namely blenders, floor cleaning liquids and voice-activated lights, and set e-commerce platform jump links for products with good test results.

It is recommended to set entry thresholds and strengthen supervision

In view of the problems existing in "third-party assessment", Li Bin believes that government supervision, industry self-discipline, and social supervision should work together. The entry conditions for engaging in "third-party evaluation" should be clearly stipulated, basic entry thresholds should be set and reasonable application approval mechanisms should be formulated, unified filing management should be carried out for assessment accounts engaged in commercial activities, the review of evaluators should be strengthened, real-name system authentication and commodity information certification should be promoted, so that evaluators and commodity information can be traced and a good "third-party evaluation" environment should be created; Consolidate the main responsibility of "third-party assessment", so as to achieve "who evaluates, who is responsible"; Regulatory authorities should strengthen supervision and establish a "green channel" for consumer complaints.

The China Consumer Association suggested that the platform should conduct account identity authentication and strengthen the review of problem accounts. For example, authentication is carried out for evaluation accounts, a "third-party evaluation" label is set up, and positive promotion is carried out to consumers through the account label, and the "third-party evaluation" account that does not hold the relevant label is restricted or blocked. Strengthen the establishment of multiple regulatory mechanisms for evaluation accounts within the platform, such as work review, credit complaints, publicity and goods management, and account fan management, to ensure that consumers are not misled. Establish a "health account management system" to provide scientific and effective data management indicators for assessment account management.

"Next, we will continue to supervise the commercial marketing and publicity model of 'third-party assessment', focusing on strengthening the supervision of 'third-party assessment' that integrates commercial testing and uses commercial maintenance testing." The relevant person in charge of the China Consumer Association said.

(Daily Worker)