Recent notice by CCPA for online sale of goods
The Central Government issued 202 notices to e-commerce companies for not following the norms while selling goods online. The notices were issued for violation of country of origin tag on products which are either failing to declare such information or providing false information. In addition to this, 15 notices were issued for incorrect declaration of date of expiry/best before, address of manufacturer and importers, charging more than MRP, non-standard units and net quantity. On the basis of complaints received from numerous consumers on the National Consumer Helpline portal, the central consumer protection authority (CCPA) has taken suo-moto cognizance of the matter.
Majority of the notices were sent in respect of electronic appliances followed by clothing and home products. However, the names of the companies to whom notices have been sent have not been disclosed.
Consumer Affair secretary revealed during a media interaction that the notices were issued to alert both the companies and consumers. The consumer affair ministry has made a brief representation giving out details about the violations. CCPA has confirmed that strong actions are being taken against the violations. It has sent notices to e-commerce entities for violations and directed them to furnish detailed reply as to the actions taken by them in this regard. CCPA has also issued advisory to all marketplace e-commerce platforms. According to reports 76 companies have compounded their offences and more than Rs 42.8 lakh crore have been collected in that regard.
CCPA is keeping a close eye on entities working in e-commerce landscape to take immediate cognizance in case of violations under the Consumer Protection Act and the E-Commerce Rules, 2020.
The CCPA said that some marketplace e-commerce entities are not complying with Rule 5(3)(e) of the E-Commerce Rules, 2020, which mandates every marketplace e-commerce entity to prominently display to its users, in a clear and accessible manner at an appropriate place on its platform all information provided to it by sellers under sub-rule (5) of rule 6 including the name, contact numbers and designation of the grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal or for reporting any other matter. The e-commerce entities are transferring the liability from their shoulders to the sellers by stating that they are only intermediaries and are not liable for any grievance regarding product that is being sold on their platform.
Since LM (Packaged Commodity) Rules also mandate declaration of country of origin on e-commerce platforms, CCPA is also working in coordination with the Legal Metrology Department for necessary action under the Legal Metrology Act.
This move comes as the government is stepping up efforts to monitor online sales and increasing the compliance for both sellers and marketplaces and ensuring that consumers have access to redressal mechanisms online.
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Amisha Bhasin, Intern at S.S. Rana & Co. has assisted in the research of this article.