The government on Monday proposed several reforms to the e-commerce rules to curb what it calls “unfair trade practices” by the companies. Under the proposed regulations, the government banned “flash sales” on any e-commerce platform. “The clause essentially applies to “flash sales”, which may be organised using fraudulent means by manipulating software to enable advantage to a specific seller or a group of sellers,” it said in the draft proposal, according to a statement issued by the food and consumer affairs ministry.
In the statement, the government described “flash sale” as “a sale organised by an e-commerce entity at significantly reduced prices, high discounts or any other such promotions or attractive offers for a predetermined period of time on selective goods and services or otherwise with an intent to draw large number of consumers.”
It also explained that conventional flash sales by third-party sellers are not banned on the e-commerce platform.
The proposed reforms also sought to form stricter consumer grievance redressal rules by asking every e-commerce entity to appoint a chief compliance officer. The ministry also proposed to make e-commerce platforms liable for individual sellers failing to deliver goods and services purchased. The draft rules are opened to comments or suggestions from the public, including experts for 15 days. The deadline for this will end on July 6.
As per the statement, the proposed amendments are aimed at bringing more transparency to the whole system and protect consumers’ interests. It also seeks to encourage free and fair competition, the Union ministry stated in the release.
In the case of imported goods, the government proposed to make it mandatory for all e-commerce entities to ensure that the product description carries adequate additional information, including the country of origin. The government also proposed to add a search provision by country of origin on the websites.
It is also proposed that e-commerce companies will not use any information collected through their platform for any unfair advantage