Bengaluru: The department of consumer affairs is proposing a slew of measures to protect the interest of online shoppers, which may have an impact on operations of e-commerce players across e-tail, online travel and food delivery.
The proposals include disclosing terms of contract between the merchant and the marketplace and details of the merchant like contacta, to make them accountable for delivery of fake goods. E-commerce entities are also not allowed to influence prices.
The notification comes even as government is considering the draft e-commerce policy, which is expected to be implemented next year, while this policy could take shape sooner. The department of consumer affairs has issued a notification and is open for consultation until September 16.
“These rules can be implemented under the Consumer Protection Act 1986 or the new Consumer Protection Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, independent of the e-commerce policy and can be fine tuned once the e-commerce policy is finalised as the enforcement of the policy anyway will lie with the respective domain ministries,” said Sachin Taparia of LocalCircles.
While several proposals in the notification like protection of consumer data and influencing prices are a repeat from draft e-commerce policy, there are some new measures being proposed as well. These include disclosure of non-commercial terms regarding refund, warranty and delivery between an e-commerce platform and merchant to “enable consumers to make informed decisions”. E-commerce platforms will also have a secondary liability if they have vouched for authenticity of goods and give refunds within 14 days, besides providing contact details of ‘Grievance Officer