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NEW DELHI: Users of e-commerce platforms will now feel greater confidence in their shopping experience with new norms for grievance redressal in these entities kicking in from this weekend. E-tailers and sellers on such platforms will have to appoint executives for addressing consumer complaints and they won’t be able to impose any cancellation charge from buyers, unless the companies concerned pay similar charges when they cancel an order unilaterally for any reason.
All sellers using e-commerce platform for marketing of their products will also need to display the country of origin of the items. Union consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the rules with provisions to protect the e-commerce consumers will be notified on Friday and the mandatory norms will come into force immediately.
The rules also say that the products delivered to consumers must be the same as provided in descriptions and images. While sellers and inventory e-commerce will need to comply with this, e-commerce marketplaces will have to take such undertakings from the seller using their platforms.
The rules prohibit e-commerce companies from manipulating the price of the goods or services to gain unreasonable profit through unjustified prices.
The rules framed under Consumer Protection Act will be applicable to both domestic and foreign e-commerce firms offering service or selling items to Indian consumers. Failure to comply with these norms will amount to unfair trade practice and the Central Consumer Protection Authority can take action in such cases.
The finalised rules say that the executive tasked for grievance redressal will have to acknowledge the complaint within 48 hours and will need to resolve it in 30 days.
The rules have specified duties and liabilities of e-commerce marketplaces where sellers use online platforms for selling their products. Similar provisions have been made for inventory e-ecommerce entities, which buy products in bulk and then sell them online. There are strict norms even for sellers using the e-commerce marketplace.
The rules specify that sellers cannot refuse to take back goods or withdraw services or refuse refunds, if these are found defective, deficient, delivered late, or if they do not meet the description on the online platform. Exception for delay in delivery will be only in case of force mejeure such as lockdown or natural disaster.