Most important amendments to the new e-Commerce rules



#India has witnessed a volume increase of around 36% as compared to the last quarter of 2020. #e-Commerce players are expecting strong sales growth in the upcoming period. Considering this rapid growth of e-commerce platforms, it is important to strengthen the laws governing e-Commerce. To protect the interest of consumers, prevent their exploitation and encourage free and fair competition in the market, the Government of India has shared a draft of the proposed amendments to the #Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.


These rules are proposed rules which ensure fair and equal treatment on the e-Commerce platform. It also ensures that consumers are not adversely affected in the event where a seller fails to deliver the goods or services due to any reason or circumstance.


Applicability of rules:
  1. all goods and services bought or sold over the digital or electronic network including digital products;

  2. all models of e-commerce, including marketplace and inventory models of e-commerce;

  3. all e-commerce retail, including multi-channel single-brand retailers and single-brand retailers in single or multiple formats; and

  4. all forms of unfair trade practices across all models of e-commerce.


Who is exempted?

Activities carried out by a natural person in a personal capacity eg. Sole Proprietor selling handmade goods online, Services of Professionals etc.


Duties of e-Commerce entities:
  1. e-Commerce entity must be a registered company under the Companies Act, 1956 or 2013 or it can be an office or agency outside India owned or controlled by a person resident in India under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.

  2. The above entity must appoint a nodal person of contact to ensure compliance with the provision of the Act or rules made thereunder.

  3. Every e-Commerce entity shall provide the following information on its platform:

  • The legal name of the entity

  • Address of its headquarters and branches

  • Name and details of its website

  • Contact details of customer care and grievance officer

  1. Every e-Commerce entity shall establish an adequate grievance redressal mechanism and shall appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal. His name, contact details and designation must be clearly displayed on the e-Commerce platform.

  2. Receipt of the consumer complaint is to be acknowledged by the grievance officer within 48 hours and it is to be resolved within 1 month from the date of receipt of the complaint.

  3. In the case of imported goods, details of importers to be mentioned.

  4. No e-Commerce entity shall impose cancellation charges on consumers cancelling after confirming purchases. If an e-Commerce entity has to bear such charges for any reason, it may recover the same by the consumer provided the order is cancelled by the consumer.

  5. No e-Commerce entity shall manipulate the price of goods and services to gain unreasonably. It should also not discriminate between consumers of the same class.




Duties of Seller on the marketplace:
  1. No seller shall adopt any unfair trade practice in any manner.

  2. A false representation of goods/services, false reviews or misrepresentation of any of the same is strictly prohibited.

  3. No seller shall refuse the return policy, refund policy in the case of any defect in the product. It shall not be applied in the case of late delivery due to force majeure.

  4. Any seller offering goods or services through a marketplace e-commerce entity shall:

  • have a prior written contract with the respective e-commerce entity to undertake or solicit such sale or offer;

  • appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal and ensure that the grievance officer acknowledges the receipt of any consumer complaint within forty-eight hours and redresses the complaint within one month from the date of receipt of the complaint;

  • ensure that the advertisements for marketing of goods or services are consistent with the actual characteristics, access and usage conditions of such goods or services.

  • provide to the e-commerce entity its legal name, principal geographic address of its headquarters and all branches, the name and details of its website, its e-mail address, customer care contact details such as fax, landline, and mobile numbers and where applicable, its GSTIN and PAN details.

(5) Any seller offering goods or services through a marketplace e-commerce entity shall provide the following information to the e-commerce entity to be displayed on its platform or website:

  • all contractual information required to be disclosed by law;

  • total price in the single figure of any good or service, along with the breakup price for the good or service, showing all the compulsory and voluntary charges such as delivery charges, postage and handling charges, conveyance charges and the applicable tax, as applicable;

  • all mandatory notices and information provided by applicable laws, and the expiry date of the good being offered for sale, where applicable;

  • all relevant details about the goods and services offered for sale by the seller including country of origin which are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the prepurchase stage;

  • the name and contact numbers, and designation of the grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal or for reporting any other matter;

  • name and details of the importer, and guarantees related to the authenticity or genuineness of the imported products;

  • accurate information related to terms of exchange, returns, and refund including information related to costs of return shipping in a clear and accessible manner;

  • relevant details related to delivery and shipment of such goods or services; and

  • any relevant guarantees or warranties applicable to such goods or services.


I have given a gist of rules to be complied with by e-Commerce entities and sellers using the e-Commerce platform. For more details, you are advised to go through the below link:

https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/E%20commerce%20rules.pdf


References:

  1. https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/E%20commerce%20rules.pdf

  2. https://www.ibef.org/industry/ecommerce.aspx

  3. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1729201






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