The Consumer Affairs Ministry is proposing a series of amendments to consumer protection rules that forbid e-commerce firms like Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart and Amazon.com Inc. from flash sales, and increased their liabilities for unfulfilled orders.
The rules are part of a 14-page draft consumer protection amendments published on the Department of Consumer Affairs website late on Monday evening. The department has invited feedback till July 6.
With the proposed amendments, the government said it aims to bring transparency in e-commerce platforms and further strengthen the regulatory regime to curb prevalent unfair trade practices.
Among the key guidelines are that no e-commerce entity shall organise a flash sale as they limit consumer choice.
The rules also try to put an end to related party sellers, and have asked e-commerce firms to ensure none of its related parties are listed as sellers for sale to consumers directly.
The ministry said companies will be termed related parties if they have 10% or more common ultimate beneficial ownership. “Enterprises will also be considered related to each other through a common chain of directors or managing partners, shareholders, where such shareholders hold not less than 5% of the shareholding in the related enterprises,” the draft said.
E-commerce firms that cross-sell goods and services are also obliged to provide adequate disclosures to the users.
The e-commerce entities are also asked to ensure appointment of chief compliance officer, and a nodal contact person for 24*7 coordination with the law enforcement agencies. Besides the e-commerce firms will also appoint officers to ensure compliance of the orders and a resident grievance officer for redressing grievances of consumers on the e-commerce platform.
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