The consumer affairs ministry is looking to expand the purview of the ecommerce guidelines, under discussions, with services such as video streaming, online ticket booking, and ride-hailing.
An ET report, citing a senior government official, said that the ministry is looking to update the draft ecommerce guidelines it had released last month, even though the original guidelines have talked about including online sales of both goods and services. However, the focus has mostly been on regulating ecommerce marketplaces.
With the addition of services under the ambit of ecommerce guidelines, the guidelines will reportedly be shared again by the first week of October. This is after the government has already extended the deadline for public comments to October 31.
The report said that the government believes that while there’s not too much ambiguity on the product side, on the services front there are many different sectors it will have to take into account.
Along with this, the government is also reportedly looking to introduce a self-declaration form for sellers to guarantee the authenticity of goods and services being sold online. This would include B2C marketplaces or C2C platforms such as Olx and Quikr. The report said that platforms should display if a seller has declared the goods or services they are selling are genuine.
“Whether it affects buying decision or not, consumers should be shown the information. Self-declaration is far easier than implementing KYC to authenticate every online seller,” the report added.
However, the ministry is reportedly looking to omit rules for the protection of a consumer’s data as it believes this would come under the IT Act.
The ecommerce guidelines aim to prevent fraud, unfair trade practices and protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. Under the guidelines, the ministry also wants to enforce ecommerce platform to make details of the sellers available. These details include legal name, address, website, email address and other contact details.
The new guidelines have also restricted ecommerce entities authority to influence the price of the products on its platform. With the rise in the sale of counterfeit products on ecommerce platforms, the guidelines have recommended more stringent action in such cases.
The commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal recently said that his ministry is working on a national ecommerce policy, which will be ready by June 2020. Along with the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) and consumer affairs, there are three sets of ecommerce guidelines being explored.