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The government notified a slew of new e-commerce rules as part of its updated consumer protection legislation on Friday, making online retailers more accountable and their businesses more transparent.

It also notified the new Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), with sweeping powers to book those found violating consumer rights, with effect from Friday.

The watchdog led by a chief commissioner will enforce the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, regulating issues related to consumer rights, including unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.

Under the new Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, e-tailers have to compulsorily display details about return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, and grievance redressal mechanism as well as the ‘country of origin’.

Companies are also not allowed to “manipulate the price" of goods and services offered on their platforms to make “unreasonable profit", discriminate between consumers or make any arbitrary classification of consumers affecting their rights under the Act.

The new legislation came into effect on Monday.

The e-commerce rules will apply to all electronic retailers offering goods and services to Indian consumers, whether registered in India or overseas, Union minister for food and public distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said earlier this week. E-commerce entities that do not comply with the rules will face penal action.

The rules cover marketplaces working as aggregators such as Amazon and Flipkart and inventory-led models where the retailer owns the stocks.

“They clarify the distinct scope of responsibilities between the marketplace platform and the sellers on the marketplaces. This clarity in law making will help in effective enforcement of these laws and creating an ease of doing business environment," said a Snapdeal spokesperson.

“Aspects like every seller being required to provide details of a grievance officer will be a little complicated for sellers to execute," said an executive of an e-commerce firm, who didn’t want to be named.

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