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E-Commerce Portal Responsible If Seller Ignores “Country of Origin” Of Product

The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission of Hyderabad governed under Consumer Protection (E-Commerce Rules), 2020 stated that a seller is bound to mention the valid information of the product sold on their site so that a consumer can make a clear choice before purchasing such products.

The “safe harbour” immunity guaranteed for intermediaries under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act is not applicable to the e-commerce marketplace in the event of any infringement of the E-Commerce Rules. 

The consumer forum found Paytm and Uni One India Pvt Ltd accountable for a lack of service and ordered them to compensate them with Rs. 15,000.

Brief of the case: 

A consumer brought a Usha sewing machine in August 2020 via Paytm for Rs. 13,440. When the package was delivered to the complaint, he found that the product was manufactured in Thailand. The origin of the product was not displayed on the site as per section 6(5)(d) of the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

The complainant assumed that the goods were made in India as no information was provided. If the nation of origin had been disclosed on the online store, the complainant claimed, he would not have bought the sewing machine.

On the other hand, Paytm stated that it is a larger marketplace that sells various products manufactured by different kinds of manufacturers and vendors. It also mentioned that just acting as a middle person between the vendor and purchase as well as helps the process to be easier.

The manufacturer contended that the mere fact of not mentioning the origin of the product doesn’t mean unfair trade practices.  It further argued that since the complaint had the option to ask the manufacturer for clarification, there was no need for him to base his choice on speculation. Furthermore, it claimed that the complainant was not harmed by the unintentional omission and had not suffered any hurt, injury, mental anguish, or stress.

The reason behind of Amendments of the Act:

The Consumer Protection (E-COMMERCE) Rules, 2020, were notified under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which aims to protect the interests of consumers and promote free and fair competition in the market. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MCA) proposed amendments to the rules.

The regulatory framework is intended to be strengthened and e-commerce platforms are to be made more transparent through proposed reforms. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) looked into a few corporations’ operations and discovered that they were abusing their market dominance and offering sellers in whom they have indirect shares preferential treatment.

Online businesses have complained about the e-commerce industry’s widespread use of deep discounts. Given that some e-commerce businesses engage in limited government procurement, the modification was required to address growing concerns of preferential treatment.

Ahir Mitra
Ahir Mitra

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