In news– Centre is considering several changes to the e-commerce rules.
Key changes proposed-
- Ban on fraudulent flash sales and mis-selling, and appointment of chief compliance officer/grievance redressal officer are among key amendments proposed to the Consumer Protection (e-commerce) Rules, 2020, on which the government had sought public comments by July 6.
- The Ministry of Consumer Affairs is considering changes to the consumer protection rules on e-commerce that may include redrafting related party sales and clarity on flash sales, after consultation with industry and e-commerce players.
- A “flash sale” is defined as a sale organised by an e-commerce entity at significantly reduced prices, high discounts or any other such promotions or attractive offers for a predetermined period of time.
- As per the proposed rules, e-commerce companies will not be allowed to organise a flash sale where goods or services are sold at significantly reduced prices and high discounts.
- The final rules are expected to give clarity on issues such as what constitutes flash sales, finer details and issues regarding appointment of resident grievance officers, among others.
- According to the current draft, country of origin norms for e- commerce players will be tightened to push the sale of locally produced goods on their platforms.
- Towards this, e-tailers cannot mislead consumers by manipulating search results on their platforms.
- They will have to ensure that marketplaces do not use any information collected through its platform for unfair advantage of its associated enterprises.
- While the government has maintained that rules aim to protect the interests of consumers and make e-commerce companies more accountable and responsible, some sections of the industry are worried about changes in their business structure if the rules were to be implemented in the current shape.
Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules 2020 shall apply to:
- All goods and services bought or sold over digital or electronic networks including digital products.
- All models of e-commerce, including marketplace and inventory models of e-commerce.
- All e-commerce retail, including multi-channel single brand retailers and single brand retailers in single or multiple formats.
- All forms of unfair trade practices across all models of e-commerce.