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New Delhi: The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has served 202 notices to online sellers and marketplaces over the past 12 months for failing to display country-of-origin tags on goods, and for not furnishing details of a grievance redressal mechanism.

A majority of notices, issued under the Legal Metrology Act, deal with those selling electronic appliances. Of the 202 notices, sellers of electronic products recorded the highest violations with 47 notices, followed by apparel with 35 notices.

Also, a majority of the notices relate to violation of country-of-origin tag, either failing to declare such information or providing false information, followed by incorrect date of expiry information apart from non-declaration of MRP, among other violations.

“The violations involve declaring false country of origin on the products listed on e-commerce platforms and failure to declare country of origin. CCPA has taken suo-moto cognizance of the matter on the basis of complaints received from numerous consumers on the National Consumer Helpline portal," the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said in a statement on Tuesday.

CCPA, under Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, has sent Notice to e-commerce entities for violations reported on their platforms. It has also directed such entities to furnish detailed reply as to what are the tangible steps have been taken by them on this matter.

The move comes as the government is stepping up efforts to monitor sale of goods online—increasing the compliance for both sellers and marketplaces as well as ensuring consumers have access to redressal mechanisms online.

CCPA is continually monitoring the e-commerce landscape in India to take immediate cognizance of violations under the Consumer Protection Act and the E-Commerce Rules, 2020, it said.

To be sure, rule 6(5)(d) of the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 mandate any seller offering goods or services through a marketplace-commerce entity to provide all relevant details about the goods and services offered for sale by the seller including country of origin, necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage, it said.

Additionally, CCPA said some marketplace e-commerce entities are not in compliance with the part of the E-Commerce Rules, 2020 that mandates every marketplace e-commerce entity to prominently display all information provided to it by sellers on their platforms, including the name, contact numbers and designation of the grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal or for reporting any other matter. Hence, consumers are unable to get redressal of their grievances from sellers on such platforms.

“In its review, CCPA has found that marketplace e-commerce entities are giving run-of-the-mill reply to consumers stating that they are only intermediaries and are not liable for any grievance with regard to the product and it is the seller who is responsible for any liability arising out of purchase made on its platform.Hence, CCPA has issued Advisory to all marketplace e-commerce platforms on 01.10.2021 for displaying information provided by sellers as per the E-Commerce Rules, 2020," it further said.

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