From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not Much
Mains level : Regulating e-commerce in India
- To protect the interest of online shoppers, the Department of Consumer Affairs has released draft guidelines on e-commerce that state that an e-commerce entity cannot directly or indirectly influence the price of the goods or services.
E-commerce guidelines for consumer protection 2019
- These are issued as guiding principles for e-commerce business for preventing fraud, unfair trade practices and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.
- These guidelines apply to business-to-consumer e-commerce, including goods and services.
- It added that every e-commerce entity needs to publish the name and contact details of the grievance officer on their website along with the mechanism by which users can lodge their complaints.
- As per the draft, an e-commerce firm cannot falsely represent themselves as consumers or post reviews about goods and services in their name.
- The draft guidelines adds that e-commerce firms need to ensure that personally identifiable information of customers is protected, is open for stakeholder comments for 45 days or till September 16, 2019.
- Besides, it proposed to make it mandatory for firms to display terms of contract with the seller relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty/guarantee, delivery/shipment, mode of payments and grievance redressal mechanism to enable consumers to make informed decisions.
- The draft also proposes that once an e-commerce firm comes to know about any counterfeit product, and if the seller is unable to provide any evidence that the product is genuine, the firm needs to take down the listing and notify the consumers of the same.