THE UPDATE ON THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 2019
The consumer affairs ministry has come up with a draft that states that e commerce companies will not be able to influence price of goods on the platform and will have to adhere to fair trade practices.
Traders from across the country were up in arms as their sales and revenue rock bottomed because of the crazy low price sales which have been released by e retail companies in the festive season. Surely the festive season was not so festive for the retailers according to Santosh Singhi.
The consumer affairs ministry has issued draft ‘The Consumer Protection (e-Commerce) Rules, 2019 and sought comments on it by December, 2019.
The consumer affairs ministry will have to frame rules for ecommerce and commerce in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 which has recently been passed in the parliament.
To force ecommerce companies to be more transparent and accountable to the customers the traders body CAIT has welcomed this step by the government with open hands and sense it as a sigh of relief.
WHAT THE DRAFT SAYS
The draft says that the ecommerce companies should maintain a level playing field and should not try to influence directly or indirectly the price of goods and services available on their platforms respectively.
The draft says that the ecommerce companies should not adopt or ought to any trade practices which for the purpose of sale and promotion in the supply of goods deceive the customers or cheat the customer or lead to unfair trade practices which might result in a monopoly. Also the ecommerce companies should not try to attract customers using unfair competitive means for their own benefit.
Also the draft says that the goods can be returned if they arrive late or in a damaged condition and there should be no questions asked for the return.
Also the draft says that the terms of agreement with the seller should be transparent and should be made aware to the customer before the customer buys the product online. These agreements should include terms of contracts with the sellers relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty/guarantee, delivery/shipment, mode of payments, grievance redressal mechanism etc.
This way the customer will be able to take an informed decision while purchasing a product online according to Santosh Singhi.
WHY THIS ACT
Through this act the government is trying its best to make commerce in India a level playing field and also to avoid the monopoly which might be created by the ecommerce giants in India. This is a welcome step in the right direction and the regulatory body should ensure that this act should be practiced not just in words but also in deed by the ecommerce companies.
As we have seen in the FDI policy hardly any company follows all the rules, terms and conditioned and they keep functioning under the nose of the government and thus all steps should be taken to see that unfair trade practices are not happening under the nose of the government even after the Act is implemented.
What is more interesting is that the internet and mobile association of India has said and also have submitted the same that this framework will lead to a unnecessary compliance burden on the ecommerce companies and would lead to losses. They also believe that this will affect business negatively in the country.
All stake holders from different sides of the table have their own version but we should not forget that India is a country of shopkeepers and businessmen and all parties should benefit from the Act according to SantoshSinghi.