New Delhi: In a bid to safeguard consumer rights in view of current challenges posed by e-commerce companies the government will frame new guidelines.
As per Zee Media sources, the new set of guidelines will be made next month by the Consumer Affairs ministry. As per new rules, the e-commerce sites will have to provide all the details of products to the customers. These details include mandatory declaration of the MRP of the product, where it was made and the discounted price.
The online websites will also have to provide with a consumer complaint number and declare the stipulated time to resolve issues.
It may be recalled that government introduced a new Consumer Protection Bill the Lok Sabha in January. The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 seeks to repeal the 30-year-old Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
The Bill has strong provisions to check adulteration and misleading ads and also provides for fine up to Rs 50 lakh and jail up to 5 years for manufacturers and service providers for false and misleading ads. Against adulteration, the Bill has provisions for fine up to Rs 10 lakh and life term imprisonment.
The objective of the Bill is to "provide for protection of interest of consumers and for the said purpose to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumer disputes..."
The Bill aims to set up an executive agency 'Central Consumer Protection Authority' (CCPA) to make intervention when necessary to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practice and to initiate class action including enforcing recall, refund and return of products.
Besides setting up an authority, the Bill has provisions for product liability action on account of harm caused to consumers due to a defective product and deficiency in services. It also has provisions for 'mediation' as an alternative dispute redressal mechanism.
The emergence of global supply chain, rise in global trade and rapid development of e-commerce have led to a new delivery system for goods and services and also provided new options and opportunities for consumers.
Misleading ads, tele-marketing, multi-level marketing, direct selling and e-commerce pose new challenges to consumer protection and will require appropriate and swift executive intervention to prevent consumer detriment," the Bill said.
The Bill has several provisions aimed at simplifying the consumer dispute adjudication process of the consumer dispute redressal agencies, besides enabling consumers to file complaints electronically.
With PTI Inputs