The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued notices to several electric vehicle makers taking suo-motu cognisance of recent fire-related and battery explosion incidents in the country. It is also working on guidelines to check on misleading fake and paid reviews on websites to protect consumer interests.

Speaking to mediapersons on Tuesday, Nidhi Khare, Chief Commissioner of CCPA, said that the authority has taken suo-motu cognisance of EV-related fire incidents. “We have sent notices to 4-5 companies seeking an explantion for these incidents, and questioned them as to why action should not be taken against them for unfair trade practices. Since other Ministries and government departments are also involved, we will also examine DRDO’s report on electric vehicles,” she said. Khare added that hearing on these notices is expected to commence soon

On the issue of fake and paid reviews on online portals, Khare said, “Fake reviews have emerged as a key concern especially in sectors such as white goods, food and beverages, and travel and tourism. We have set up a committee to look into this issue and two meetings have already taken place. We have also asked for suggestions from stakeholders. We will be issuing guidelines over fake and paid reviews so that consumers are not cheated.”

Recently, the Delhi High Court put a stay on CCPA’s service charge guidelines. “We are examining the order and will take appropriate steps,” said Khare.

Preventing misleading promos

The authority is also likely to bring out guidelines in the form of FAQs on social media advertising to guide influencers to check on false and misleading promotion of products.

CCPA is also looking to expand its countrywide campaign on ensuring enforcement of quality control orders on consumer durables such as geysers, immersion water heaters, domestic gas stoves, microwave ovens and sewing machines. It is mandatory for makers of such products to conform with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). It has already been running a similar countrywide campaign to check on substandard helmets, pressure cookers and LPG gas cylinders.

Work over 2 years

Talking about CCPA work since its inception in 2020, under the Consumer Protection Act, Khare said that the authority has issued 129 notices, five advisories and two guidelines, including prevention of misleading ads. She said that of the 129 notices to companies, 71 notices were for misleading ads, 49 were related to unfair trade practices and nine were over violations of consumer rights. CCPA also imposed penalties on five companies and has been collaborating with several government departments and regulators.