E-commerce firms’ grievance redress process substandard: official

E-commerce firms' grievance redress process substandard: official

The consumer affairs minister said companies had been asked to self-regulate.

New Delhi:

Consumer Affairs Minister Rohit Kumar Singh said on Thursday that as the number of complaints received by the national consumer helpline has risen sharply over the past four years, the grievance redress mechanism for many large e-commerce players Not quite.

The number of complaints registered with the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) has risen to 90,000 in November, Rohit Kumar Singh said at an event organized by the Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI). , compared with 40,000 in the same month last year.

“Four years ago, complaints related to e-commerce transactions accounted for 8 percent of the total number of complaints. Last month, it accounted for 48 percent of the total number of complaints,” he said.

“This means that the grievance redress system of many large e-commerce companies is not up to par,” he added.

Rohit Kumar Singh pointed out that the balance of power between consumers and sellers has suddenly changed. “Consumers are getting weaker and that’s where the ministry’s role becomes important,” he added.

The minister shared that in his various interactions with businesses across the industry ranging from edtech, taxi aggregators, food delivery platforms, online gaming platforms and e-commerce companies, he has stated that they cannot “free ride on consumers”. Companies have been asked to self-regulate, he added.

He said that NCH currently provides services in 10 languages, which will increase to 22 in the future.

However, Rohit Kumar Singh admitted that the regulatory and enforcement framework has not kept pace with the economy.

Referring to other initiatives by the ministry, the minister said the government would soon introduce guidelines for social media influencers, making it mandatory for them to disclose whether they were paid to endorse products.

He also said consumer interest watchdog CCPA was investigating complaints related to pricing by taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber.

Rohit Kumar Singh expressed concern over the 527,000 cases pending in consumer courts at the district, state and national levels, which he said the government was trying to resolve.

Of the total number of pending cases, 180,000 are related to the insurance sector and another 80,000 to the banking sector, he added.

Rohit Kumar Singh said there were some “systemic issues” which had been referred to the relevant ministries.

On misleading advertising, he said, “We have now developed a framework for social influencers, which will be released soon. They must disclose whether they have received money to endorse a product.” On the Statutory Metrology Act, Singh It said more reforms were needed and it sought advice from the industry. He also said the Cabinet had recently approved a bill that would decriminalize certain provisions of the Act.

The government is also developing standards for artificial intelligence and sustainable packaging.

(Aside from the title, this story is unedited by NDTV staff and published via a syndicated feed.)

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