To protect consumers’ interest, the Centre has proposed guidelines for e-commerce firms stating that the companies are required to effect all payments towards accepted refund requests of the customers within a deadline of 14 days.
Not only this, the e-tailers have to disclose details of sellers supplying goods and services on their websites.
There is an increasing concern for customers’ safety due to which the e-commerce companies will also be required to ensure that personally identifiable information of customers is protected.
The Government plans to achieve holistic growth of the sector through this draft which mandates that e-commerce companies should not directly or indirectly influence the price of the goods or services and ‘maintain a level playing field’. The companies should also not adopt any unfair methods, falsely represent themselves as consumers, post reviews about goods and services in their name or exaggerate the quality of goods and services.
To ensure transparency in dealing, the companies are required to display terms of contract between them and the seller to enable consumers to make informed decisions.
The consumer affairs ministry has sought views of stakeholders on the draft guidelines on e-commerce by 16 September.
Apart from this, e-commerce firms should be a registered legal entity under Indian laws and should submit a self-declaration to the ministry stating that it is conforming with guidelines. “We are evaluating the draft guidelines and look forward to participating in the deliberations to help finalise an operating framework,” a Snapdeal spokesperson said in a statement.
The spokesperson said this will enable the sector to offer a high standard of consumer protection at every stage of an e-commerce transaction.