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Centre proposes ban on mis-selling, fraudulent flash sales on e-commerce platforms

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NEW DELHI: The government on Monday proposed a series of amendments in Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, including a ban on mis-selling and fraudulent flash sales on e-commerce platforms.
All measures have been taken after the Centre received several representations from aggrieved consumers, traders and associations complaining against widespread cheating and unfair trade practices being observed in the e-commerce ecosystem, it said in an official release.
Comments and suggestions on the proposed amendments have been sought within 15 days by email to the consumer affairs ministry.
Other amendments include ban on misleading users by manipulating search results, appointment of chief compliance officer and resident grievance officer.
Besides, registration of such entities have been made mandatory with the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) within a specified period for allotment of registration number. While, those engaging in ‘cross-selling’ will have to provide adequate disclosures to users displayed prominently.
E-commerce entities are also required to provide information not later than 72 hours of the receipt of an order from a government agency for prevention, detection and investigation and prosecution of offences under any law, as per the proposed amendments.
It also seeks to ban ‘flash sales’ on e-commerce platforms if such sales are organised by fraudulently intercepting the ordinary course of business using technological means with an intent to enable only a specified seller or group of sellers managed by such entity to sell goods or services on the platform.
“To protect the interests of consumers, prevent their exploitation and encourage free and fair competition in the market, the Government of India is sharing a draft of the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020. The proposed amendments aim to bring transparency in the e-commerce platforms and further strengthen the regulatory regime to curb the prevalent unfair trade practices,” the official release said.
The government has proposed that e-commerce entities should ensure that such registration number and invoice of orders are displayed prominently to its users in a clear and accessible manner on its platform.
It has also proposed a ban on display and promotion of misleading advertisements. E-commerce entities offering imported goods/services will also have to mention name and details of the importers and the ‘country of origin’.
Besides, it has proposed ‘ranking’ for goods and services offered on the platforms while ensuring that the ranking parameters do not discriminate against domestic goods and sellers.
(With inputs from PTI)

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