Consumer protection norms for e-commerce companies notified

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 24, 2020 Published on July 24, 2020

Companies directed to have robust, time-bound grievance redressal mechanism

The Centre on Friday notified Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules as part of the broader Consumer Protection Act 2019. The new rules make e-commerce companies, whether Indian or foreign, accountable for unfair trade practices and will require them to have a robust grievance redressal mechanism and ensure grievances are resolved within one month of receipt of complaint.

E-commerce players will need to appoint a nodal executive or a senior designated functionary to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act or the rules made thereunder. All e-commerce firms, including offshore e-commerce entities, will need to ensure they incorporate either an Indian subsidiary or register themselves as a foreign company under the Companies Act, 2013.

Grievance redressal

"Every e-commerce entity shall establish an adequate grievance redressal mechanism having regard to the number of grievances ordinarily received by such entity from India, and shall appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal, and shall display the name, contact details, and designation of such officer on its platform," the notification stated.

The company will need to ensure they acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within 48 hours and redress the complaint within one month from the date of receipt of the complaint.

"Where an e-commerce entity offers imported goods or services for sale, it shall mention the name and details of the importer from whom it has purchased such goods or services, or who may be a seller on its platform," the notification stated.

In addition, e-commerce companies cannot impose cancellation charges if consumers cancel the order after confirming purchase, unless similar charges are also borne by the e-commerce entity.

E-commerce companies cannot "manipulate the price" of the goods or services offered on its platform to gain unreasonable profit or discriminate between consumers or make any arbitrary classification of consumers affecting their rights under the Act, the notification added.

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Published on July 24, 2020
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