Ministry of Consumer Affairs takes note of CERC’s appeal for more consumer-centric e-Commerce Rules
- Posted by CERC India
- Posted in Press Releases
12 November 2021
Ministry of Consumer Affairs had proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 and invited stakeholders to send their comments. Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) studied the proposed Rules and sent suggestions for better protection of consumers. Our suggestions were based on our experience of handling complaints that we receive from consumers against e-commerce platforms, which highlights the issues that consumers are facing with e-commerce platforms. We also get several insights into such issues during our regular interaction with other Consumer Organisations of Gujarat. Readers of our weekly e-magazine Grahak Sathi also send us their views and suggestions.
One of the important suggestions that CERC made was to enhance the scope of the definition of “Fall back liability” which has been introduced in the amendments. Fall back liability means that if a seller registered with an e-commerce entity fails to deliver goods or services then the e-commerce entity is also held responsible for such grievances. CERC has suggested that e-commerce companies should also be made liable for the delivery of “substandard, fake or counterfeit products” by any of their registered sellers. Imposing such liability will make portals responsible to ensure that products sold on their platform are genuine.
Ms. Anusha Iyer, Advocacy Officer CERC said, “Consumers have faced problems with e-commerce platforms often trying to shift responsibility for any grievance to the respective sellers. A consumer purchases a product from an e-commerce platform because of their brand. The e-commerce entity cannot argue that they are just a marketplace and are equivalent to a mall in the digital world. Similarly, we have also suggested that financial disincentives should be imposed on sellers who are found to be selling fake/counterfeit products. Such a penalty will ensure that sellers do not resort to selling counterfeit products. Names of blacklisted sellers should be prominently displayed to help consumers in knowing if they have been victims of purchasing counterfeit products from them.”
CERC also highlighted that the proposed Rules direct the e-commerce entities from displaying any misleading advertisement. However, the provision needs to clearly mention that if any advertisement is found to be misleading then the e-commerce entity will also be held liable.
After going through all the suggestions received, Ministry held a virtual meeting invited some of the stakeholders for further detailed discussions. The meeting was chaired by Additional Secretary – Department of Consumer Affairs, Govt of India and conducted by Joint Secretary. CERC, once again emphasized the important suggestions in the interest of the consumers and requested the Ministry to consider incorporating them in the proposed E-Commerce Rules. The Ministry noted all the issues raised by CERC and asked CERC to send further comments on this issue to them.
For more information, please contact Anusha Iyer 9825005612