The Director of Legal Metrology BN Dixit has set aside Amazon’s appeals filed against the notices issued by the Department of Legal Metrology for being unable to display the full address of sellers on its marketplace – Amazon Seller Services. In the order dated February 2, 2021, the director noted that “it is evident that the appellant company has violated the provisions of Legal Metrology Act, 2009 and the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, by not displaying the complete address of the manufacturer on the digital/electronic network used for e-commerce transactions.” Dixit ordered the department to proceed against Amazon “as per law”.
The Department of Legal Metrology had issued notice to Amazon on November 19 followed by a reminder notice on December 9 last year after it noticed a violation of mandatory declaration required under rule 6 (1) of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 that pertains to not providing the complete address of sellers retailing products on the marketplace. Non-declaration of information is punishable under section 36 (1) of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009.
Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Amazon in its reply had said that it had taken down listings with incomplete details from the website within 36 hours of getting the notice and that it is the duty of the seller to provide all the mandatory declarations about the product on the portal and ensure its correctness. “A bare perusal to sub-rule 10 of rule 6 provides that an e-Commerce entity shall ensure that the mandatory declaration as specified in sub-rule (1). But at the same time proviso to the sub-rule 10 of rule 6 provides that in case of market place model of e-commerce, the responsibility of the correctness of declarations shall lie with the manufacturer or seller or dealer and not of e-commerce entity,” the company said.
The department had also fined Amazon Rs 25,000 for not displaying mandatory information along with the penalty of Rs 25,000 on each of its directors in November. On Tuesday itself, the Delhi High Court had issued notice to Centre and others on a petition seeking direction to e-commerce websites to show details including MRP, details of sellers, name of the manufacturer, and country of origin on the products listed on the marketplaces, ANI reported. The court had asked the Centre to reply and had listed the matter for further hearing on March 12.
“All sales at Amazon platform are controlled by them since there is no mention of details of the sellers and all the sales first directly go to Amazon and they decide to whom the order is to be forwarded. By virtue of this fact, about 80 per cent sales are being happened through very few preferred sellers and therefore the argument of Amazon that sellers list their details, etc., does not stand on legal legs,” said BC Bhartia, National President and Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary-General, Confederation of All India Traders in a statement.