The Indian government recently shared with the public a draft of the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020, notified with effect from July 23 last year. The amendments aim at incorporating transparency in e-commerce platforms and further strengthening the regulatory regime to curb unfair trade practices in the sector.
The proposed amendments are appointment of a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person for coordination with law enforcement agencies; 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; prohibition of selling goods and services by deliberate misrepresentation of information; ensuring fair and equal treatment for domestic manufacturers and suppliers on the e-commerce platform; and ensuring consumers are not adversely affected if a seller fails to deliver due to negligence.
The registration number is proposed to be displayed prominently on website as well as invoice of every order placed in the e-commerce entity.
To let consumers know about the expiry date of products, all sellers on and all e-commerce inventory entities should provide ‘best before’ or ‘use before’ date, according to an official release.
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.
Since the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, were notified, the government received several representations from aggrieved consumers, traders and associations complaining against widespread cheating and unfair trade practices in the e-commerce ecosystem.