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Govt releases Draft e-Commerce Guidelines for Consumer Protection 2019

Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (Department of Consumer Affairs) has published draft e-Commerce Guidelines for consumer protection 2019. These guidelines will be applicable on all business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce platforms.

Draft e-Commerce Guidelines for Consumer Protection 2019

  • It aims to make e-commerce platforms and their sellers more transparent and accountable to consumers. It also seeks to curb sale of counterfeit products online and unfair trade practices by e-commerce companies
  • It proposes series of consumer safeguards that forbid e-commerce companies from influencing pricing, adopting unfair promotion methods or misrepresenting the quality of goods and services.
  • It also mandates e-commerce companies to protect personally-identifiable information of customers. In this case, data collection and storage and use should comply with provisions of Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.
  • It mandates e-commerce firms to self-declare compliance and also provide way for customers to contact them directly.
  • It proposes to make mandatory for e-commerce entities to accept returns in event products delivered are defective, wrong or spurious or if they do not have characteristics or features advertised.
  • It also mandates every e-commerce entity has to publish contact details of its grievance officer, who would have to address complaints within one month from the date of receipt.
  • It makes mandatory for e-commerce platforms to declare all details about their sellers including address, website and email address.
  • It also mandates them to display terms of contract with the seller relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty, delivery and mode of payments.

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