The Union government has sought suggestions on the proposed Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020. The SJM welcomed the government’s move.
Welcoming the Union government’s move to protect consumers who engage with e-commerce platforms, Swadeshi Jagran Manch suggested multiple changes to protect the interest of the consumers.
It said the proposed rules are an “important milestone in consumer protection from new E-Commerce giants, which though are running full-fledged E-Commerce, call themselves as merely technology platforms.”
Objecting to the definition of the word “consumer”, it said in the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, under which The Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, have been issued, “the definition of ‘consumer as defined in section 2(7) of the Act, does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purposes as well a person who avails of such services for any commercial purposes.”
It added, “There is a general impression that the E-Commerce Rules are applicable to all the parties involved in E-Commerce which is not true.”
Ashwini Mahajan, Co-convener of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch said if the definition is not amended, it would lead to exploitation of the players involved in the e-commerce activity by the giants.
Underlining the need for laws, the SJM said “there are many traders and service providers, which are not getting any protection under the law, due to inadequate or non-existent E-Commerce laws. Small traders (on Amazon, Flipkart-Walmart), drivers on Uber, Ola etc. and small restaurants involved in Zamato etc., hairdressers, carpenters, electricians etc. on Urban Clap etc. and many other workers are subject to severe hardships by these E-Commerce giants, having no protection, at all, against exploitation.”
The SJM welcomed the move of compulsory registration of e-commerce players but with a caution, adding “to avoid any hardship to E-Commerce entities with very small consumer base in India, a threshold may be prescribed for compulsory registration.”
To further the cause of consumers and players, it added “suitable rules may also be inserted to provide for capacity building for inspection and enforcement of E-Commerce transactions, unfair trade practices, mis-selling, manipulation of prices, search algorithm and other technical aspects of digital transactions with consumer protection perspective.”
It also suggested setting up e-courts to quickly settle the disputes.
The SJM welcomed the move for e-commerce companies under the proposed rules to appoint “chief compliance officers, nodal contact persons and resident grievance officers who are residents and citizens of the country”.