‘Entire B2C online sector to come within new consumer law ambit’

Legislation aims to clean up the segment, says official

August 04, 2020 10:24 pm | Updated 10:45 pm IST - Bengaluru

Tango with two: The regulation will protect both consumer rights andd the dignity of brands, an official says.

Tango with two: The regulation will protect both consumer rights andd the dignity of brands, an official says.

There’s a widespread impression that the new Consumer Protection Act will only regulate the operations of the legacy e-commerce players Amazon and Flipkart. However, that’s a misconception as the new law brings the entire B2C online sector strictly within its ambit, said a top official at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

“The Consumer Protection Act has already kicked in, but many online service providers still want to believe they are outside its scope,” said the official on condition of anonymity. “All kinds of B2C online services, irrespective of their size and reach, all mobile app-based services and all businesses running on social media platforms, will come within the bill’s purview.

Simply put, e-pharmacies, e-tutoring, e-groceries, e-taxis, e-bikes, e-food chains, online air, rail, bus ticketing services, online hotel or tour booking platforms, e-payment services, e-deliveries, e-buying and selling platforms, OTT services, app stores, websites of FMCG companies and also ventures that run on Facebook, WhatApp, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. will come within the ambit of the new legislation. rule.

“There’s no need to resist or ignore a law that aims to clean up the online B2C sector in the country. Only unscrupulous players who exercise unfair trade practices or indulge in counterfeit merchandise need to worry. Otherwise, this is a win-win piece of regulation that will protect the rights of customers and dignity of the brands,” the official said.

For To ensure better enforcement of the law, the Centre Union government will soon come out with a National Framework on E-commerce in consultation with the ministries of Consumer Affairs, Information Technology and Commerce.

“The effective enforcement of this regulation could prove to be a challenge and it requires active collaboration between multiple ministries and various bodies of the government. This framework will be a composition of various components such as consumer rights, data storage, data privacy, data localisation and cross-border purchases,’’ the official further said.

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