CCI may Use Instrumentality of Law if Cos Don’t Follow Rules

The Economic Times, February 06, 2020

India’s competition watchdog may use the “instrumentality of law” if ecommerce companies do not follow self-regulatory guidelines, its chairman said on Wednesday. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) last month put out a set of self-regulatory guidelines for ecommerce players, encouraging them to increase transparency in policies related to discounting, seller ratings and data collection.

The CCI published the guidelines along with the findings of a market study on ecommerce. The competition body also initiated an investigation into ecommerce platforms Amazon and Flipkart over alleged violation of competition law in the smartphone segment.

“The commission, under its advocacy mandate, has urged the ecommerce platforms to improve transparency for certain areas of their functioning… In the absence of self-correction, the instrumentality of law is always available with the commission,” said Ashok Kumar Gupta, chairman of CCI, at an event organised by Consumer Unity and Trust Society International.

Gupta said the imbalance of market power and information asymmetry were key issues between ecommerce platforms and business users. The self-regulatory measures recommended that ecommerce platforms set out clear policies on search ranking parameters and collection of user data.

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