Consumer Protection (e-commerce) Rules should stick to consumer-facing concerns: CUTS

PTI, July 03, 2021

Many consumer organisations feel that the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, should stick to only consumer-facing issues, research firm CUTS International said on Saturday.

At the roundtable of consumer organisations organised by CUTS International, it came out unanimously that the e-commerce ecosystem has benefited consumers and that the same needs to be promoted, without hindrances.

The government has sought public comments on the draft amendments to the Consumer Protection (e-commerce) rules by July 6.

Ban on fraudulent flash sales and mis-selling of goods and services on e-commerce platforms, making registration of these entities mandatory with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) — are some of the amendments proposed.

A statement issued by CUTS International quoted Anusha Iyer, Advocacy Officer of Ahmedabad-based, Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) who expressed concern over various proposed amendments to the e-commerce rules.

She said the proposed amendments are “vague and ambiguous’ that would increase confusion and implementation hiccups.

Whereas Surendra Kanstiya, former Chairman of Mumbai-based Consumer Guidance Society of India, observed, “The proposed amendments are poorly drafted hence affecting user-readability and implementation.

He also stated that the Rules if implemented in the current form will adversely impact ease of doing business in India.

Ujjwal Kumar, Policy Analyst at CUTS International, said he was not satisfied with the rationale provided by the government for the proposed amendment within a year of the notification of the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

According to him, mere ‘receiving representations from aggrieved consumers, traders and associations complaining against widespread cheating and unfair trade practices being observed in the e-commerce ecosystem’ are not enough to establish the need for the proposed amendments.

It must be established that the present rules failed to deal with the alleged ‘cheating’ and ‘unfair trade practices’, the statement said.

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