Complaints against e-commerce players being looked into: Govt

By: |
July 31, 2021 5:00 AM

The complaints were received from traders, retailers and industry associations, minister of state for commerce and industry Som Parkash said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

On Friday, the minister said, to further strengthen the regulatory framework for prevention of unfair trade practices in e-commerce, the government has sought suggestions on the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (e-Commerce) Rules, 2020.On Friday, the minister said, to further strengthen the regulatory framework for prevention of unfair trade practices in e-commerce, the government has sought suggestions on the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (e-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

The government has forwarded complaints against e-commerce players about deep discounting, predatory pricing and the misuse of market dominance to relevant agencies for “necessary examination and investigation”, Parliament was informed on Friday.

The complaints were received from traders, retailers and industry associations, minister of state for commerce and industry Som Parkash said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

FE had earlier reported that in December 2020, the commerce and industry ministry had written to the Reserve Bank of India and the enforcement directorate to take “necessary action” on allegations made by a key traders’ body against Amazon, Flipkart and Walmart relating to the violations of FDI and other relevant rules. For their part, the e-commerce players have denied the charges and maintained that they abide by the relevant rules.

In its representations to the government, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had accused both Amazon and Walmart-backed Flipkart of exploiting loopholes in rules and frequently violating FDI policies relating to e-commerce by clandestinely offering discounts through sellers on their platforms, among others.

On Friday, the minister said, to further strengthen the regulatory framework for prevention of unfair trade practices in e-commerce, the government has sought suggestions on the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (e-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

Comments from many stakeholders on the draft e-commerce policy have been received relating to definition of e-commerce, role of marketplace entities and liabilities of e-commerce companies, among other related issues, he added.

Already, the draft e-commerce policy under the consumer protection Act has caused considerable unease among e-tailers for a host of changes, including the ban of “specific flash sales” by e-commerce players.

Recently, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said the government could issue a clarification on its foreign direct investment (FDI) policy for e-commerce “very shortly”. Various reports have suggested that the government could tighten the FDI norms that could force players like Amazon and Flipkart to restructure their existing marketing tie-ups.

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