E-commerce industry has sought the revision of a host of contentious clauses in India’s draft e-commerce rules including the deletion of those seeking to include related parties and logistics service providers within the definition of an ecommerce entity, ban flash sales and mandate the listing of local alternatives while selling imported goods or services.
The USISPF (US-India Strategic Partnership Forum) has made a submission to the department of consumer affairs, which says that the draft proposals are “problematic and fail to take into consideration that not all marketplaces are alike and may not share similar relationships with buyers and sellers, negating the need for or effectiveness of prescriptive measures.”
Major e-commerce players like Flipkart and Amazon India are also associated with the USISPF.
As per a report of The Economic Times, the Forum has sought the deletion of clauses to include ‘related parties and service providers for order fulfilment’ as e-commerce entities as well as those banning flash sales, registration requirements with Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and the fall-back liability on online marketplace – where platforms have to be liable if a customer is unhappy with the products.
It can be mentioned here that the draft proposals were first announced on 21 June triggering an immediate reaction, with online platforms, brands and select sellers criticising it. Offline traders and smaller online sellers have welcomed some of the proposals, but have also demanded greater clarity.
On the other hand, few Government departments have expressed concerns over the proposed consumer protection norms for e-commerce companies, arguing that it will impact ease of doing business and the overall investment sentiment.
While some of the agencies have shared their feedback with the consumer affairs department, which is piloting the initiative, officials said the proposal creates multiple challenges for e-commerce players, beginning with Licence Raj.