To protect the interest and rights of consumers and to prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce and direct selling, the Central Government has notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.
The Central Government is empowered under Section 94 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 to take measures to prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce, direct selling and also to protect the interest and rights of consumers. In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-clause (zg) of sub-section (1) of section 101 of the Act, the rules have been framed.
“E-commerce entity” is defined in the Rules as any person who owns, operates or manages digital or electronic facility or platform for electronic commerce, but does not include a seller offering his goods or services for sale on a marketplace e-commerce entity.
“Seller” means the product seller as defined in the Act and includes any service provider.
E-commerce marketplace Duties
An e-commerce entity as per the Rules shall be a Company or a foreign company registered under Companies Act, 1956 or 2013, or an office, branch or agency outside India owned or controlled by a person resident in India as provided in sub-clause (iii) of clause (v) of section 2 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
The liabilities of marketplace e-commerce entities for consumer protection , Duties of sellers on marketplace, duties and liabilities of inventory e-commerce are also explained in the rules:
Every e-commerce entity has to 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. (Rule 4)
Sellers’s Roles and Duties
The Rules notify that in a marketplace e-commerce entity sellers offering goods or services should not adopt any unfair trade practice whether in the course of the offer on the e-commerce entity’s platform or otherwise.
No false representation as a consumer and posting of reviews intending about goods or services or misrepresent the quality or the features of any goods or services is allowed.
Through a marketplace e-commerce entity no seller offering goods or services shall refuse to take back goods, or withdraw or discontinue services purchased or agreed to be purchased, or refuse to refund consideration, if paid, if such goods or services are defective, deficient or spurious, or if the goods or services are not of the characteristics or features as advertised or as agreed to, or if such goods or services are delivered late from the stated delivery schedule. (See Rule 5, for better understanding)
Under relevant provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, the violations of these rules will be penalized.
Read the Rules :