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22/06/2021 02:00pm

Govt proposes amendments to Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020

image Govt proposes amendments to Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020

New Delhi, Jun 21 (KNN) Following the complaints from small businesses and traders of misuse of market dominance and deep discounting, the central government has proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020.  

''To protect the interests of consumers, prevent their exploitation and encourage free and fair competition in the market, the Government of India is sharing a draft of the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020. The proposed amendments aim to bring transparency in the e-commerce platforms and further strengthen the regulatory regime to curb the prevalent unfair trade practices,'' Ministry of Consumers Affairs said in a statement on Monday.

The newly proposed amendments to limit so-called ‘flash sales’ of goods and services by e-commerce companies suggested by the consumer affairs ministry.

Conventional e-commerce flash sales are not banned. Only specific flash sales or back-to-back sales which limit customer choice, increase prices and prevent a level playing field are not allowed.

To ensure compliance of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and Rules, E-commerce firms are also expected to appoint Chief Compliance Officer, a nodal contact person for 24x7 coordination with law enforcement agencies, officers to ensure compliance to their orders.

Resident Grievance Officer for redressing the grievances of the consumers on the e-commerce platform, has been proposed. This would ensure effective compliance with the provisions of the Act and Rules and also strengthen the grievance redressal mechanism on e-commerce entities, said the ministry.

Industry bodies and e-commerce firms have time until 6 July to submit their comments and suggestions on the proposed rules.

To tackle growing concerns of preferential treatment, the new e-commerce rules propose to ensure none of the related parties to a marketplace are listed as sellers or are allowed to use any consumer information (from the online platform) for ‘unfair advantage’. Further, even logistics service providers to these marketplaces will not be allowed to give preferential treatment to any sellers.

Putting in place a framework for registration of every e-commerce entity with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) for allotment of registration number which shall be displayed prominently on the website as well as invoice of every order placed the e-commerce entity.

''Registration of e-commerce entities would help create a database of genuine e-commerce entities and ensure that the consumers are able to verify the genuineness of an e-commerce entity before transacting through their platform,'' the statement added.

To protect the interests of consumers, mis-selling has been prohibited i.e selling goods and services entities selling goods or services by deliberate misrepresentation of information by such entities about such goods or services. To ensure that consumers are aware about the expiry date of the products they are buying on the e-commerce platform all sellers on marketplace e-commerce entities and all inventory e-commerce entities to provide best before or use before date to enable consumers to make an informed purchase decision.

To ensure that the domestic manufacturers and suppliers get a fair and equal treatment on the e-commerce platform it has been provided that where an e-commerce entity offers imported goods or services, it shall incorporate a filter mechanism to identify goods based on country of origin and suggest alternatives to ensure fair opportunity to domestic goods.

''To ensure that consumers are not adversely affected in the event where a seller fails to deliver the goods or services due to negligent conduct by such seller in fulfilling the duties and liabilities in the manner as prescribed by the marketplace e-commerce entity, provisions of Fall-back liability for every marketplace e-commerce entity have been provided,'' it added.

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