The Central Government has notified Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 to prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce, direct selling and also to protect the interest and rights of consumers.
Section 94 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 empowers the Central Government to take measures to prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce, direct selling and also to protect the interest and rights of consumers. These Rules have been framed in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-clause (zg) of sub-section (1) of section 101 of the Act.
"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.
Duties of E-commerce marketplace
As per the Rules, an e-commerce entity 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. Rules further enumerates the liabilities of marketplace e-commerce entities, Duties of sellers on marketplace, duties and liabilities of inventory e-commerce entities:
The Rules provide that 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. (Read Rule 4 for more)
Duties of sellers
The Rules provided that sellers offering goods or services through a marketplace e-commerce entity should not adopt any unfair trade practice whether in the course of the offer on the e-commerce entity's platform or otherwise.He shall not falsely represent itself as a consumer and post reviews about goods or services or misrepresent the quality or the features of any goods or services. No seller offering goods or services through a marketplace e-commerce entity 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, the Rules read. (For further reading, see Rule 5)
The violations of these Rules will be penalized under relevant provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019.
Click here to Read/Download Notification