The number of complaints against ecommerce companies is on the rise. Compared to the 1,300 registered back in December the number of complaints registered so far has risen to 28,000 (i.e. from November 2016 to March 2017). The main reason for these complaints has been undelivered products, wrong products, defective products and so on.
To bring down the number of these complaints the government has decided to intervene. The central government is planning to amend the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities Rules)-2011 to reduce consumer complaints.
New amendments by the Centre
Rule #1 – Sellers and ecommerce platforms must compulsorily declare MRP, net quantity and the grievance redressal process on all packaged goods.
Rule #2 – All packaged commodities imported and sold in India will need to have the place of origin and manufacture displayed on them.
Rule #3 – Displayed quantity, MRP and other detail sizes will be doubled on small packets and for larger packets, the font size for these details will have to be 1.5 times their current size.
Rule #4 – The above may not be applicable to food items, except for those unfit for consumption after the expiry of a certain period of time. For these products, the best before or use by details must be prominently displayed on the packaging.
These amendments are expected to be enforced through an official notice in the coming weeks. After the amendments are enforced, under the Packaged Commodities Rules-2011, the director, controller legal metrology officer would be empowered take necessary action against merchants and ecommerce companies violating these rules.
Ecommerce companies and marketplaces like Amazon will need to meet these amended requirements to avoid legal action.
A senior official stated that, “The amendments have been framed because we have received many complaints that consumers weren’t provided the same goods as mentioned in the packages and also inadequate information were furnished by some companies on their packages.”
The official further mentioned that in the event of discounts, vendors and sellers on some online retail platforms display the wrong or inadequate information on their product packages.
According to sellers, many of the amendments introduced are already being observed by them. Former president of ESS, Sanjay Thakur said,
“We are already complying with the guidelines. Everything from dimensions, weight, consumer helpline details are mentioned on all packaged commodities.”
AIOVA, on the other hand, said that these rules and requirements are already being followed by sellers with products at marketplace fulfilment centres.
Precaution by the government
A couple of big ecommerce companies last year wound up in trouble for violating packaged commodities rules.
The draft of the above-mentioned amendments of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities Rules) – 2011 was put through public consultation for 30 days during late last year, i.e. December 2016. After the objections and suggestions were considered, the Centre decided to now enforce them through a notification that will be published in the official gazette.
The official mentioned earlier mentioned, “We had sent the draft amendments to the Law Ministry and after considering all the aspects will now issue a notification regarding the same.”
These amendments may change things for online shoppers to a certain degree for sure, but at the same time, online sellers are waiting for rules by the government that will also protect their best interests as well.