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Govt holds consultation on Safety Pledge for e-commerce platforms

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, NOV 17, 2023: THE Department of Consumer Affairs held a stakeholder consultation today on preparation of a 'Safety Pledge' for e-commerce platforms aimed to ensure sale of goods which are safe for use by consumers and requiring platforms to take appropriate measures to prevent sale of unsafe goods.

The meeting was chaired by Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs and was attended by representatives from industry associations, major e-commerce platforms, voluntary consumer associations and law chairs.

The meeting began with a presentation by the Department of Consumer Affairs, emphasizing the importance of safety of goods for consumers and the provisions under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 to prevent sale of unsafe goods to consumers. International examples of Safety Pledge being implemented in other jurisdictions such as European Union (EU), Japan, Australia, South Korea, Canada were also discussed.

Sale of safe goods to consumers is among the strong principles of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. 'Consumer rights' recognized under Section 2(9) of the Act includes the right to be protected against the marketing of goods, products or services which are hazardous to life and property. Further, consumer commissions are empowered under the Act to pass directions to entities to not offer hazardous or unsafe goods for sale.

The Department of Consumer Affairs is actively collaborating with the European Commission to adopt best international practices aimed at detecting and preventing the sale of unsafe goods to consumers on online platforms.

The product safety pledge is a voluntary commitment by online platforms with respect to the safety of goods sold to consumers. The pledge aims to better protect consumers from the risk of purchasing unsafe products available for sale on e-commerce platforms.

The safety pledge aims to raise standards across all online marketplaces operating in India. Signing the pledge can also be a public way of demonstrating their commitment to enhancing consumer product safety.

The proposed principles of the Safety Pledge for e-commerce platforms include detecting and preventing the sale of unsafe products, co-operating with statutory authorities responsible for product safety, raising consumer product safety awareness amongst third party sellers and empowering consumers on product safety issues.

The Department has constituted a committee for drafting of the Safety Pledge and the committee includes members from major e-commerce platforms, voluntary consumer associations, industry bodies and National Law Universities. The committee shall submit its report in two weeks.

Attendees to the meeting included industry associations such as CII, ASSOCHAM, FICCI, IAMAI, NASSCOM, e-commerce platforms namely Amazon, Flipkart, Meesho etc., Voluntary consumer associations such as Mumbai Grahak Panchayat and Consumer Voice and Law chairs such as Chair on consumer Law, NLU Delhi and Chair on Consumer Law, NLSIU, Bengaluru.

All stakeholders expressed their appreciation for the introduction of a Safety Pledge for e-commerce platforms. The consensus underscored the critical importance of ensuring the sale of safe goods to consumers through e-commerce channels.


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