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Govt reportedly fines Amazon for not displaying country of origin of products

Amazon package in a flower pot
Credit: Aditi Agrawal

The Indian government has penalised Amazon for not displaying the country of origin next to product listings, PTI reported. The e-commerce company has reportedly been fined ₹25,000 for each director. In July, the Consumer Affairs Ministry had notified e-commerce rules for consumer protection, which mandate platforms like Amazon and Flipkart to display the country of origin alongside the products they offer, among other things.

Following that, the Ministry had, in October, sent notices to both Amazon and Flipkart asking them to explain — within fifteen days — why action shouldn’t be taken against them for not displaying the country of origin of some product listings. Amazon was penalised because the Ministry reportedly didn’t find the company’s response to the notice satisfactory. Flipkart has not yet been fined, the report added.

We have reached out to Amazon for comment, and will update the story when they respond.

Mandatory display of country of origin for e-commerce cos

The Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, notified by the Consumer Affairs Ministry in July direct e-commerce companies to display the country of origin alongside product listings. On top of that they will also have to reveal the parameters that go behind determining product listings on their platforms. While the requirement to display country of origin was already a necessity under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, the enforcement of these rules coincided with the ban of several Chinese-owned apps, followed by skirmishes between India and China at the border.

Following that, the government had also told the Delhi High Court that it is mandatory for e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal to display the country of origin alongside imported products. This response had come in a counter-affidavit filed by the centre, following a plea seeking e-commerce to display country of origin alongside product listings.

India’s draft e-commerce policy also requires these platforms to show country of origin next to product listings.

Watch: Rahul Narayan, a Supreme Court Advocate, explains the feasibility of displaying country of origin of products available on e-commerce platforms: 

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