Consumer Protection E-Commerce Rules 2020. E-commerce entities & their duties

Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 notified. Type of e-commerce entities and their duties and responsibilities 

Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules 2020 

The Rules shall apply to all goods and services bought or sold over digital or electronic network including digital products, all models of e-commerce, including marketplace and inventory models of e-commerce; all e-commerce retail, including multi-channel single brand retailers and single brand retailers in single or multiple formats; and all forms of unfair trade practices across all models of e-commerce:

However, these rules shall not apply to any activity of a natural person carried out in a personal capacity not being part of any professional or commercial activity undertaken on a regular or systematic basis.

An e-commerce entity has been defined to mean any person who owns, operates or manages digital or electronic facility or platform for electronic commerce, but not include a seller offering his goods or services for sale on a marketplace e-commerce entity which means an e-commerce entity which provides an information technology platform on a digital or electronic network to facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers (i.e. Amazon etc.)

“inventory e-commerce entity” means an e-commerce entity which owns the inventory of goods or services and sells such goods or services directly to the consumers and include single brand retailers and multi-channel single brand retailers.

The Rules provide for the duties of the seller and various e-commerce entities. For example, every e-commerce entity shall provide legal name of the e-commerce entity, principal geographic address of its headquarters and all branches, name and details of its website; and contact details like e-mail address, fax, landline and mobile numbers of customer care as well as of grievance officer.

To claim exemption, every marketplace e-commerce entity shall require sellers through an undertaking to ensure that descriptions, images, and other content pertaining to goods or services on their platform is accurate and corresponds directly with the appearance, nature, quality, purpose and other general features of such good or service.

Every marketplace e-commerce entity shall inter alia display details of the sellers offering goods and services, including the name of their business, whether registered or not, their geographic address,customer care number, any rating or other aggregated feedback about such seller, and any other information necessary for enabling consumers to make informed decisions at the pre-purchase stage.

In wake of the fake review of products at e-commerce entities, it has been provided that no seller shall falsely represent itself as a consumer and post reviews about goods or services or misrepresent the quality or the features of any goods or services.

It has also been provided that sellers on marketplace shall not refuse to take back goods, or withdraw or discontinue services purchased or agreed to be purchased, or refuse to refund consideration, if such goods or services are defective, deficient or spurious, or if the goods or services are not of the characteristics or features as advertised or as agreed to, or if such goods or services are delivered late from the stated delivery schedule.

The provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (35 of 2019) shall apply for any violation of the provisions of these rules

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