Related Topics: Government Policies & Interventions, Consumer Protection
Why in News
- E-commerce guidelines, which are currently advisory in nature, will become mandatory for the firms dabbling in online business once the rules are framed for the recently passed Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
- The Ministry of Consumer Affairs would invite suggestions on the rules by September 15 and the rules would be notified by December, 2019.
- They are principles for e-commerce business for preventing fraud, unfair trade practices and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.
- E-commerce entity cannot directly or indirectly influence the price of the goods or services.
- The companies should not adopt any unfair methods, falsely represent themselves as consumers, post reviews about goods and services in their name or exaggerate the quality of goods and services.
- To ensure transparency in dealing, the companies are required to display terms of contract between them and the seller to enable consumers to make informed decisions.
- The companies are required to effect all payments towards accepted refund requests of the customers within a period of maximum of 14 days.
- They should also comply with mandatory display requirements as per Legal Metrology (amendment) rules 2017 for pre-packaged commodities.
- They should also provide mandatory safety and health care warnings and shelf life that a consumer would get at any physical point of sale.
- These companies are also proposed to be held responsible for any warranty/guarantee obligation of goods and services sold.
- E-Commerce entity should publish on its website, the name of the Grievance Officer and his contact details as well as mechanism by which users can notify their complaints about products and services.
- The Grievance Officer shall redress the complaints within one month from the date of receipt of complaint.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) — which would be established to promote, protect and enforce consumer rights — would have the power to take action against violating firms.
- The e-commerce rules have become important because of the explosive growth being witnessed by the sector due to the increase in the number of online users, growing penetration of smartphones and the rising popularity of social media platforms.
- According to a recent Morgan Stanley report, the e-commerce sector in India is estimated to reach $230 billion by 2028, accounting for 10 per cent of India’s retail trade.
[Source: The Hindu]