New Delhi [India], October 27 (ANI): The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) under the Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has taken strong action on violations of consumer rights. In a run-up to the festive season, CCPA took stringent action to safeguard consumer interests.
Talking to media persons today, Secretary Department of Consumer Affairs, Leena Nandan informed that after notification of new guidelines last year, CCPA has been efficiently and effectively tightening noose over the violators.
During this interaction, a brief presentation was also shared, which indicated that the violations involve declaring a false country of origin on the products listed on e-commerce platforms and failure to declare country of origin. CCPA has taken suo-moto cognizance of the matter on the basis of complaints received from numerous consumers on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) portal.
According to the information shared by the department, 202 notices with regard to country of origin violations in the period October 16, 2020 to October 22, 2021. Out of this, electronic products recorded the highest violations with 47 notices, followed by apparel with 35 notices.
It also said that 75 companies have compounded their offences, out of which 68 have compounded for violations relating to the country of origin. The total amount collected by the compounding of the offences is Rs 41,85,500. Significantly, the CCPA has issued advisory to all marketplace e-commerce platforms.
CCPA has sent a Notice to e-commerce entities for violations reported on their platforms. CCPA has directed such entities to furnish detailed reply as to what are the tangible steps that have been taken by them on this matter.
It has come to the notice of CCPA that some marketplace e-commerce entities are not complying with Rule 5(3)(e) of the E-Commerce Rules, 2020, which mandates every marketplace e-commerce entity to prominently display to its users, in a clear and accessible manner at an appropriate place on its platform all information provided to it by sellers under sub-rule (5) of rule 6 including the name, contact numbers and designation of the grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal or for reporting any other matter.
Therefore, consumers are unable to get redressal of their grievances from sellers on such platforms Rule 6(5)(d) of the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 mandate any seller offering goods or services through a market place-commerce entity to provide all relevant details about the goods and services offered for sale by the seller including the country of origin, necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage. Rule 4(3) further stipulates that no e-commerce entity shall adopt any unfair trade practice, whether in the course of business on its platform or otherwise.
Since LM (Packaged Commodity) Rules also mandate declaration of country of origin on e-commerce platforms, CCPA is also working in coordination with the Legal Metrology Department for necessary action under the Legal Metrology Act.
"Due to lack of required information, a consumer is ill-informed about the product or service. Without any information of name, contact number and designation of grievance officer of seller, published on the platform, a consumer has no choice but to contact the marketplace e-commerce entity in case of any grievance," the official communication read.
In its review, CCPA has found that marketplace e-commerce entities are giving run-of-the-mill reply to consumers stating that they are only intermediaries and are not liable for any grievance with regard to the product and it is the seller who is responsible for any liability arising out of the purchase made on its platform.
The presentation also said that CCPA has issued an advisory to all marketplace e-commerce platforms on October 1, 2021 for displaying information provided by sellers as per the E-Commerce Rules, 2020.
It is also notable that as part of celebrations of 75 years of Independence- 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', CCPA has decided to initiate a country-wide campaign to prevent a sale of spurious and counterfeit goods that violate Quality Control Orders published by the Central Government. The daily use products identified for the purpose are Helmets, Pressure Cooker and Cooking Gas Cylinders. Violation of compulsory standards has been categorized as a cognizable offence under sections 29 (4) of the BIS Act. "Such goods can be dangerous, hazardous and risk causing harm to consumers," an official notification said.
CCPA has taken suo-moto cognizance of unfair trade practices involving sale of such goods to consumers. District Collectors of all states and Union Territories have been directed under sections 16 of the Consumer Protection Act to investigate unfair trade practices of selling such goods to consumers. CCPA has also written to Director General, Bureau of Indian Standards to take up this issue on priority, notify all regional branches to conduct market surveillance and take immediate action.
Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs has also written to Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories to undertake enforcement drive, in coordination with district collectors and commissioners of police to prevent sale and manufacture of goods violating compulsory standards.
The Department has also taken new initiatives to collaborate with stakeholders for protecting consumers from cyber fraud as well.
Complaints of cyber fraud were also reported on National Consumer Helpline (NCH). The Department of Consumer Affairs has collaborated with the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), Ministry of Home Affairs for strengthening the redressal of cyber fraud grievances on NCH.
The helpline number for reporting cyber fraud has been prominently published on the NCH portal. A banner link to directly lodge the complaint on Cyber Crime Portal has also been placed on the platform. (ANI)