Tweak draft e-com rules, says Nasscom

Consumer consent for sharing information, limiting fallback liability to timely refund, and aligning some of the proposed amendments that are currently beyond the scope of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 with the objective of the Act, are some recommendations that National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has made on the draft e-commerce rules.

Its suggestions on proposed changes to the Consumer Protection (e-Commerce) Rules focus on “strengthening consumer protection, ensuring that obligations are proportionate to underlying risks”.

The government in June had proposed changes in the e-commerce rules, including banning predatory flash sales and directing e-commerce firms to appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, a nodal contact person and Resident Grievance Officer.

In a statement, the industry body said that some of the proposed amendments appear to be beyond the scope of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 and are instead a subject matter of either the Competition Act, 2002 or the Information Technology Act, 2000. “Towards this, our suggestions focus on proposed amendments dealing with regulation of data management practices for cross-selling by e-commerce entities, regulating behaviour of entities not directly engaged in e-commerce business with a consumer, regulating competition in the market, etc,” it said, adding that the proposed requirement be either done away with or aligned with the objective of Consumer Protection Act 2019.

“For example, Rule 6(7) of the proposed amendments restricts marketplace entities from offering any goods or services to registered sellers. We have suggested to remove this obligation as this is not an unfair trade practice per se and at a policy level, is already dealt with under the FDI Policy,” it said.

It added that there were many areas where the proposed amendments are unclear, and these have been highlighted by the industry body in detail.

“Instead of prohibiting certain activities, [Nasscom has] suggested to include an indicative list of unfair trade practices that the Central Consumer Protection Authority may investigate upon, for ensuring consumer protection,” it said, adding that the consumer consent be required for sharing consumer information to any person unless it is for the fulfilment of an order or providing any services as promised by the e-commerce entity.

Further, the industry body has recommended that certain obligations be imposed on all e-commerce entities. For example, an explanation in plain language about the parameters used to rank sellers, goods or services on the platform, and in case of fallback liability, the obligation on a marketplace e-commerce entity should be to the extent of ensuring timely refund to consumers if the consumer has already paid for such goods or services.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 3:48:51 PM |

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