14 days refund, returning counterfeit goods: Consumer friendly e-commerce policy in offing

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Published: August 6, 2019 1:05:59 PM

The government has proposed a slew of measures in the new draft e-commerce policy to protect consumer interest and make e-commerce a viable and safe option.

This has upstretched the share of e-commerce in overall warehousing leasing uptake in the country from 10% in 2017 to 23% in 2018.E-commerce sites will be required to accept the return of goods if the delivery is made on a later date then was advertised.

The government is working on an e-commerce policy which will enable maximum 14-day refunds to the consumers and protection from counterfeit products. The government has proposed a slew of measures in the new draft e-commerce policy to protect consumer interest and make e-commerce a viable and safe option. In the light of the same, rules for counterfeit products have been tightened and the e-commerce platform will be held accountable if it makes assurance of the authenticity of the product and the consumer gets a copy of the original item. Further, the e-commerce sites will be required to accept the return of goods if the delivery is made on a later date then was advertised. The same will also be applicable in cases where a defective product or wrong product is delivered then was advertised. 

Among other rules proposed under draft e-commerce policy, the sellers will now be required to “display single-figure total and break up the price for the goods or service, that includes all compulsory charges such as delivery, postage, taxes and handling and conveyance charges,” the policy said. Stricter rules are also on the anvil for listing fake products and if a seller is unable to provide any evidence that the delivered product is genuine, the listing of the said product will be taken down. Mandatory safety and health care warnings, mentioning the shelf life of the product, providing fair and reasonable delivery terms, being responsible for any warranty/guarantee obligation of goods and services sold, and upfront information on exchanges, returns and refund processes will also be the sellers responsibility now, if the draft e-commerce policy comes into effect. 

The government is seeking feedback on the draft guidelines for protecting consumers who shop online. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has invited comments from stakeholders by 16 September 2019. In India, the e-commerce landscape is largely dominated by platforms such as Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart

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