A petition has been filed in the Delhi HC seeking direction for e-commerce social mediawebsites to display full details of products which are being offered for sale on them, that includes details of the Maximum Retail Price (MRP), seller details, name of the manufacturer and country of origin.
The plea filed by Ajay Kumar Singh points out that while the Government of India actively monitored e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal and strictly enforced compliance with the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 strictly, Platforms that sell goods by referrals, such as Instagram and Facebook, which run digital platforms that promote e-commerce on social media, flagrantly breach these mandatory laws.
The petitioner highlighted, based on media studies, that there are approximately 572 million customers in India making transactions from social media e-platforms, and that this is projected to rise to Rs. 50,000 crores by 2025. However, these e-platforms, i.e. the mobile app/website, while operating on this wide scale, provide goods for sale without sufficient disclosure of details to consumers as required by law, the plea said.
The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) Rules, 2011 and the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 provide for government requirements and rules in this regard.
The plea contends that “the business model of social commerce companies is built on hiding key information regarding products and sellers,” which helps them to target unsuspecting buyers, especially new buyers, or those from small towns and cities, “who may not be fully aware of their consumer rights.”