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Centre Proposes To Amend E-Commerce Rules To Curb Flash Sales, Appoint Grievance Redressal Officers

The Central Government proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, pursuant to recommendations by a Parliamentary panel headed by Member of Parliament Partap Singh Bajwa. The new draft rules come at a time when leading e-commerce giants such as Flipkart and Amazon India are being investigated by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for alleged abuse of market dominance and giving preferential treatment to sellers in which they hold indirect stakes. The proposed changes aim to tighten the existing regulatory regime and make e-commerce companies more accountable. The new draft proposes a host of changes such as: (i) mandatory registration requirements for online retailers, (ii) greater scrutiny of flash sales, (iii) enhanced liability of e-commerce entities, and (iv) a stronger grievance redressal mechanism. The Rules were first notified in July 2020 in exercise of powers conferred by Section 101(1) (zg) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. A period of 15 days (i.e. till 6th July 2021) has been given to all stakeholders for submitting their responses, as part of public consultation process.

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