No more cancellation charges, price manipulations in e-commerce

Indore: New rules under the Consumer Protection Act 2020 for e-commerce business are now applicable. Consumer and Food Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will address a press conference on July 27 on the same. The new rules are applicable to goods sold online through the marketplace or inventory-led models registered in India or abroad but offering goods and services to Indian consumers.

Under the new rules, filling for a consumer dispute has been made easier with various provisions. With details about the new consumer protection act and highlighting new provisions, Justice Shantanu Kemkar, president of State Commission, shares the details of the new rules applicable:

New rules for E-commerce

According to the new rules, the e-commerce players will have to display the total price of goods and services offered for sale along with a break-up of other charges.

“They are also required to mention the 'expiry date' of goods offered for sale and the 'country of origin' of goods and services that are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage,” Justice Kemkar said.

Under the rules, e-commerce players have to display details about return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, and any other information that may be required by consumers to make informed decisions. Further, these details have to be made available on the website.

“E-commerce entities should not impose ‘cancellation charges’ on consumers cancelling orders after confirmation unless sellers are ready to pay similar charges in case cancellation of orders are from their side,” Justice Kemkar said.

Further, the new rule imposes that e-commerce cannot manipulate price of goods to platforms to gain unreasonable profit and discriminate between consumers of the same class or make any arbitrary classification of consumers affecting their rights under the Act.

The new rules do not permit any inventory e-commerce entity to ‘falsely represent itself as a consumer and post reviews about goods and services or misrepresent the quality or the features of any goods and services’.

Consumers can file case where they reside now

Justice Kemkar said that another important feature of the new Act is that a consumer can file a case wherever he resides, instead of filing a case at the location of the opposite party. “Earlier due to limitation of filing the the case at the location of the opposite party, many consumers were troubled in filing the case, which will be countered by new rules,” he added.

Section 49(2) and 59(2) of the new Act gives power to the State Commission and the NCDRC, respectively, to declare the allegedly unfair terms of the contract to be null and void.

Cases up to Rs 1 crore to be resolved in District Commission

As per the new Act, the District Forum has been renamed the District Commission and can now hear cases with a value of up to Rs 1 crore. The earlier limit was Rs 20 lakh. In comparison, the State Commission can now hear cases up to Rs 10 crore, while the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) can hear cases with a value higher than Rs 10 crore, keeping with the inflation in the country.

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