E-Commerce firms in Indian Market
- We are all aware that e-commerce websites are playing an important role in the lives of everybody and every person in the entire world. COVID has brought an online shopping system to every house. E-commerce entities are playing a major role in today’s market as people are preferring to buy online in comparison to going to the market and purchasing the commodity for themselves. Legal metrology laws for e-commerce website has to be complied with by every e-commerce firm.
- The online shopping is preferable because it is less time-consuming, but in today’s scenario, one more important factor which is known as health issues and safeguarding the health of the public has also increased the transactions on the e-commerce websites.
- People are more familiar with e-commerce websites as they tend to have lots of choices on one single platform by just sitting at their desks. It also keeps them away from contacting other people and getting infected. It can be observed that before the period of COVID, only the youngsters were more aware of e-commerce websites and shopping from the e-commerce portal, but after the period of COVID, people of every single age are very much aware of e-commerce websites because now it is not just the choice of the people to buy commodities through the online mode but also the necessity of today’s world to get the commodity from the online portal.
- The increase in trade through online portals has increased the level of marketing but also has some disadvantages, which include the fact that fraudulent activities in the market have increased to a vast level as the consumer and the seller has not face-to-face interacted with each other.
- Consumers are not even aware much about the seller of the commodities. This has also increased the fraud in the Indian market by the way of online portals or e-commerce websites.
- Considering all the pros and cons of the e-commerce website, the Legal Metrology Department has taken a few strict actions to protect the interests of the consumer. Wherever they find fraudulent activities, they immediately take action on such activities. Most of the products which are purchased by the consumer through an online portal are imported from another country, and while importing the product, much fraudulent activity can take place with the consumer, which can be quite hard to predict by anyone. This is the reason the legal metrology act says that the registration of importers, and LMPC declarations made by the importer, seller and manufacture, are necessary to protect the interests of the consumer.
- Similarly, in the year 2021, the government sent approximately 183 notices to e-commerce firms to stop violating provision of mentioning the “country of origin”.
Government sent notices to e-commerce firms for violating provisions of the country-of-origin
- The department of consumer affairs issued approximately 183 notices in the year 2021 to e-commerce firms for the violation of provisions related to the country of origin. Heavy fine has been imposed on the e-commerce firm for not mentioning country of origin on products and website.
- Ashwini Kumar Choubey had replied to Lok Sabha, Ministry of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distributions by saying the legal metrology (packaged rules) 2011 under the legal metrology act 2009 provide a mandatory declaration of “country of origin” in the case of imported commodities on the digital and electronic networks used for e-commerce transactions.
- Further, he added that the Legal Metrology Act 2009 provides for a penal provision in case of violation and also authorizes the state government to take action.
- The legal metrology office of the department of consumer affairs issued 183 notices in the year 2021, which was confirmed by Mr. Choubey as the LMPC declarations on package are not correct and not clear by the e-commerce firms.
- While importing any pre-packed commodity or product from any other country, the importer has to follow the rules and regulations laid under the act and provide all the mandatory information on the portal of an e-commerce website or e-commerce firm so that while purchasing the product from such an e-commerce portal, the consumer should get the product information. But many e-commerce firms during the time of COVID were found to have not made the proper declaration about the origin of the commodity, place of origin of commodity, address of the manufacturer or importer, etc. on various e-commerce portals.
- To protect the interests of consumers, notices were sent to the e-commerce portal asking them why they have not provided all the important declarations and information on their portal. Such an initiative aimed to protect the interests of consumers and to make all the e-commerce websites comply with the rules and regulations of the act.
- Under the Legal Metrology Act 2009, it is mandatory to declare the country of origin of commodities of imported products on the digital and electronic networks used by e-commerce transactions, but it was found in 2021 that many e-commerce firms were not complying with the regulations of the act. By not complying with the act, they committed an offense under the legal metrology act for which they have been served a notice by the department.
- Not making such a declaration in the proper form will increase the legal metrology dispute and fraudulent activity in the Indian market, so every importer must comply with the rules to keep himself away from the legal consequences and trouble.
- No e-commerce firm is allowed to deal in the Indian market or sell products to the Indian consumer if it does not mention the country of origin and the proper address of the manufacturing unit and the importer.
Every e-commerce entity is required to comply with the rules and regulations of the act. The importer must get himself registered under the Legal Metrology Act and take prior permission from the Legal Metrology Department to deal in the Indian market.
The importer must provide the proper declarations on the package and mention the country of origin of the commodity. It is necessary to provide the full and proper address of the manufacturing unit of such a commodity and the proper address of the importer of such a commodity.
No e-commerce website is allowed to sell the product in the country without having the proper declaration on its portal available about every single product. An e-commerce entity must provide the address of the manufacturer, the importer of the commodity, and the country of origin in compliance with the rules.
By not doing so, the E-commerce website will be charged under the legal metrology act and criminal provision. The government has sent the various notices only because of the improper declaration that the country of origin is not mentioned on the e-commerce portal, so every importer should keep in mind that they should provide the information on the portal, and then only they can deal in the Indian market with the consumer.