The department had issued the draft more than five months after DPIIT came out with the draft e-commerce policy for regulating flow and storage of user data along with regulations governing e-commerce portal including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc.
The Department of Consumer Affairs, which had issued draft ‘consumer protection’ guidelines for e-commerce last month seeking feedback from e-commerce companies and other stakeholders by September 16, 2019, has now extended the deadline for the same to October 31, 2019. “The Department of Consumer Affairs now extends the receipt of comments from the stakeholders on the draft guidelines on e-commerce, available in the website of the department,” it said in a note on Monday.
The government had issued the draft more than five months after the department for the promotion of industry and internal (DPIIT) issued the draft e-commerce policy for regulating flow and storage of user data along with regulations governing e-commerce portal including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc. The last month draft on consumer protection in online buying focused on “preventing fraud, unfair trade practices, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers,” the draft said.
“We have submitted our comments to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. We have been following most of the measures aligning to the draft guidelines with respect to grievance redressal mechanism, converge with NCH, measures related to control the sale of counterfeit products, etc. to name a few. We hope that the proper implementation of the final policy by the industry will increase consumer confidence and trust to online consumers as well as growth of e-commerce in India,” a ShopClues spokesperson told Financial Express Online without specifically highlighting the inputs shared with the government. A Snapdeal spokesperson also didn’t confirm the company’s feedback, however, said that the internally-discussed inputs will be shared as per the submission timelines.
Both, draft e-commerce guidelines by DPIIT and consumer protection guidelines by the department of consumer affairs broadly caters to ensuring legitimate business practices by e-commerce portals with respect to the pricing of goods, payment information, sellers’ details, storage and use of customer data, counterfeit products etc. Nonetheless, the draft e-commerce regulations issued in February this year had extensively stressed on data regulation, infrastructure development, transparency in e-commerce model including preventing the sale of prohibited items, taxation, export promotion via e-commerce etc.
“Even as the e-commerce guidelines have been tried and followed by the large portals such as Amazon and Flipkart however there are many other new and existing e-commerce marketplaces,” Arnav Gupta, an analyst at Forrester told Financial Express Online.
The major highlights of the consumer protection guidelines have been that the company should be registered in India and it should not be an Indian unit of a foreign company, seller details should be furnished including address, website, email, contact details, business identity etc.; company should not directly or indirectly influence the prices of goods or services; company should not undertake any activity that influences consumer’s decision for product, data storage and collection should comply with IT (Amendment) Act, 2008; company to be held guilty of contributory or secondary liability if it guarantees that goods are authentic etc.