‘Safety Pledge’ for E-commerce Platforms to be Drawn Up

The Department of Consumer Affairs has constituted a committee to draft a ‘Safety Pledge’ for e-commerce platforms to curb the sale of hazardous goods. The said committee comprises members from major e-commerce platforms, National Law Universities (NLUs), industry bodies, and voluntary consumer associations.

This pledge would be a voluntary commitment on the part of online marketplaces which undertake to lay down product safety measures.

In this regard, a stakeholder consultation was held on November 16, 2023. At this meeting, reference was made to product safety pledges implemented in countries such as Japan, Australia, etc. wherein such an initiative was launched considering the rise in online shopping and the risks associated with the same.

In India, if goods or services offered are hazardous or unsafe, a complaint can be filed under provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. If an investigation under Section 19(1) of the Act reveals that a person violated consumer rights or engaged in unfair trade practice, the Central Authority may recall goods or services that are hazardous or unsafe and order reimbursement of the price paid for them. Moreover, Section 39(1)(h) empowers the District Commissions to direct entities to not offer hazardous or unsafe goods for sale.

The committee has been asked to share its report within 2 weeks.