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New draft E-commerce Consumer Protection rules: No fake reviews or unfair trade practices

On November 11, the Department of Consumer Affairs, under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, released the draft of Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules 2019 (available below) for consultation. The draft rules are open for consultation from stakeholders for 21 days, that is, until December 2, 2019. Views, comments and/or suggestion can be sent to dscpu-ca@nic.in.

Readers should note that these rules are exactly the same as E-Commerce Guidelines for Consumer Protection 2019 which were released by the Department on August 2. The only difference is that the guidelines were framed under Consumer Protection Act, 1986, while the Rules have been framed under the amended Consumer Protection Act, 2019. The deadline for consultation on the guidelines was September 16, which was later extended to October 31. The comments received on the guidelines haven’t been made public.

The Rules make it clear that an e-commerce entity cannot influence the price of goods and services, not adopt unfair trade practices, nor leave fake reviews as consumers. Read more about what the Rules say here.

Thus far, this is the third, effectively the second, draft to emerge on regulating e-commerce. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had released the draft for National E-Commerce Policy in February 2019. That draft hasn’t been ratified into a law yet.

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