The Union Government has released the draft e-commerce rules that will protect the interest of online shoppers.
- In lieu of many cases arising from e-commerce companies defrauding shoppers, the Union Mistry of Consumer Affairs has released the draft e-commerce rules to protect their interests.
- The guidelines provide for a 14-day deadline to effect a refund.
- The companies must also accept returns if the product delivered is defective, wrong or spurious.
- It mandates the e-commerce sites to provide details of vendors selling goods and services on their sites. The details include legal name, geographic address, their website, their email addresses and other contact information.
- They are also mandated to protect the personal data of their customers by complying with the data collection, storage and compliance rules of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 and also with IT rules of 2011.
- E-commerce sites must be registered entities as per Indian laws. They should submit a self-declaration to the Consumer Affairs Ministry stating that they comply with the guidelines.
- The guidelines also state that the promoter or key management personnel should not have been convicted in any criminal offence with a punishable term of 5 years.
- They are also required to state the name and contact details of the grievance officer on the website.
- Also, detailed information on how to lodge a complaint must be published on the site.
- As per the rules, an e-commerce company cannot falsely post reviews by representing themselves as customers.
- E-commerce sites are also mandated toe take down any seller from their listings if the seller is found to be selling counterfeit products and is not able to establish the product as genuine.
- The sites are not allowed to influence the price of the products and services that are offered through their sites.
- They cannot use any trade practices for promoting the sale, use or supply of a product and cannot use deceptive or unfair practices that can influence the decisions of the buyers.
Most e-commerce platforms do not work with accountability. They do not disclose full details of their terms of agreements with the sellers. It leaves consumers no way to redress their grievances. The new rules once come into force will change all this.
All e-commerce businesses like ride-hailing apps, restaurant aggregators, goods selling platforms, food delivery platforms, hotel booking serves, travel apps, etc must comply with the rules.