Indian government sent 448 notices to ecommerce companies for violations

Illustration: Rahul Awasthi The Department of Consumer Affairs and its legal metrology division sent 448 notices to ecommerce companies since October 2020 for violating rules about the display of the origin country of the product and other details on their website or portal.

The minister of state for consumer affairs, food, and public distribution Ashwini Kumar Choubey gave a written response to questions raised in the Lok Sabha “on whether the government proposes to evolve a proper mechanism for conducting regular checks on ecommerce platforms with rules related to display of maximum retail price, seller details, name of manufacturer and country of origin”.

The ministry has collected a fee of Rs 77,90,500 from these companies for violating the rules. The legal metrology division, under the department of consumer affairs ministry , is responsible for looking into the origin country of products sold on ecommerce marketplaces.

ET reported on March 25 that Bengaluru-based Meesho was served a similar notice on New Year’s eve.

The rule on the country of origin has become critical since the India-China border conflict in 2020. Amazon India was the first company to get fined for non-compliance.

In 2020, the government made it mandatory for etailers to show the country of origin for products and other information such as the MRP and seller details on their platforms. The amount of the fine, though, is relatively smaller for companies such as Amazon and Walmart-backed Flipkart as their gross merchandise value runs into billions of dollars per year.

Both these companies had also faced the task of updating their existing list of products and ensuring their new products were listed with the required information, particularly on the country of origin. The government had held several meetings with top etailers since 2020 to inform them of its stand, which suggested that such a rule may […]

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