usispf, indiatech, Ecommerce, Flipkart, Ecommerce Rules, flash sales, draft ecommerce rules, Internet and Mobile Association of India, India, Amazon India, first announced on June 21, criticising, extended the deadline ,  update product listings, attempt to ban online flash sales, won’t ban all flash sales, reported

Industry associations, including those that count ecommerce majors Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon India as members, have sought the revision of a host of contentious clauses in India’s draft ecommerce 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.

In a submission to the department of consumer affairs on Wednesday, USISPF (US-India Strategic Partnership Forum) said 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”. The submissions by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IndiaTech were also on similar lines.

The USISPF has sought the deletion of clauses to include ‘related parties and service providers for order fulfilment’ as ecommerce entities as well as those banning flash sales, registration requirements with DPIIT (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.

ET has reviewed the submissions made separately by each of the groupings.

The draft proposals were first announced on June 21 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.

Following an uproar from the industry, the government extended the deadline for stakeholders to submit their feedback to Wednesday, July 21.

Onerous Clauses

Terming the mandate to classify goods and services based on the country-of-origin and, for online marketplaces to offer locally made alternatives to consumers at pre-purchase stage as “onerous”, the USISPF said it would lead to increased costs and impede innovation ‘without a clear policy justification, since it is not apparent why consumers would require such a filter mechanism’. It sought the retention of the current framework without further changes.

Last year, following a border clash between India and China, the Centre had directed etailers to update product listings with information on the country-of-origin.

However, ecommerce companies and sellers are yet to comply as it’s cumbersome to update millions of listings online, according to industry executives who point out that a single product can include parts made in multiple places. Besides, a trader may buy an imported product locally.

“The proposed amendments deal with issues which have no nexus with aspects of consumer protection, and most of the suggested changes do not seem to further consumer interest being the core objective of the Consumer Protection Acts (CPA) and its related proposed amendments,” USISPF said in its note to the department of consumer affairs.

In a statement to ET, Susan Ritchie, VP -trade and technology policy, USISPF, said the forum supports consumer protections for brick-and-mortar and digital sales channels alike and that such protections should apply regardless of where or how purchases are made. “The proposed rules, however, create an artificial distinction between physical sales and digital sales channels that are only designed to inhibit the growth of digital sales rather than to protect consumers,” she said.

IAMAI, which has attended government meetings held earlier this month, also highlighted its concerns over policy changes that do not provide a level-playing field between online and offline retailers.

The amendments also “fail to recognise the different ecommerce models such as inventory/marketplace”, it noted. Clubbing the two would “impact businesses as well as consumers and will create a high level of uncertainty in an industry that is still in its growth stages and can benefit from light-handed regulation,” the industry lobby stated.

Etailers have also strongly objected to the attempt to ban online flash sales, arguing that such a move would be anti-consumer and, if at all mandated, should be applicable to both online and offline retailers.

Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), which also counts offline traders among its members, has suggested the government should not put a blanket ban on flash sales. Instead, it should clearly define what would count as ‘price manipulation’ and discourage marketplaces to favour sellers related to ecommerce platforms, SJM said.

Soon after the draft laws were first published, the government came out with a clarification saying it won’t ban all flash sales but only ‘conventional flash sales’. Etailers, sellers and brands are still unclear about what is being defined as ‘conventional’.

The SJM note to the government, however, proposes tighter monitoring and regulation of ecommerce platforms and further protection for merchants selling on ecommerce platforms.

Ambiguities Persist

On July 5, ET reported that firms like Amazon India, Flipkart and the Tata Group had raised concerns with the government in a meeting over issues like “related-party clause”, the proposal to not allow an ecommerce platform from using its name in its private brand, among others.

A common theme in the submissions made on Wednesday were aspects pertaining to antitrust and data-related clauses with the industry groupings requesting that such clauses be left out of the purview of the ecommerce policy while other concerned departments or ministries address it.

“The amendments raise several concerns and ambiguities from an ecommerce business standpoint, which are also likely to have the unintended negative consequences for consumers ultimately,” IAMAI stated.

“We humbly submit that in their current form, the amendments seek to regulate aspects of the ecommerce sector that have no bearing on consumers’ interests at all, and in doing so, could impact consumer interest negatively.”

IndiaTech, which also represents Indian online platforms that offer services, has sought more clarity on applicability of these proposed rules. It has asked for exemption of services, such as cab-hailing, travel, gaming and insurance from the ambit of these proposed amendments as many of these are governed in detail by their respective regulations and may have separate regulators.

“The rules transgress from consumer welfare into various domains such as FDI, trade, competition, personal data protection, data sharing, related party, aggregator guidelines, Insurance etc. which technically do not fall under the ambit of Consumer Protection and have been adequately addressed by other laws, regulators and ministries, said Rameesh Kailasam, CEO, IndiaTech.

“Ideally a reference to those existing provisions and their validity should now be prescribed by the ministry for those respective sectors to ensure avoidance of such conflicts with existing regulations and regulators,” he said.


Japan travel news, japan travel guides, japan holiday destinations and japan reviews

LATEST NEWS

NEWS RELATED

After Flipkart, Amazon also challenges Karnataka HC order on CCI probe in Supreme Court

Amazon India has also moved the Supreme Court challenging last Friday’s Karnataka High Court order, which cleared the way for the Competition Commission of India ( CCI ) to probe firms like the Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon India, a person aware of the matter said. Court filings showed that Amazon…

Read more: After Flipkart, Amazon also challenges Karnataka HC order on CCI probe in Supreme Court

Flipkart challenges Karnataka HC order on CCI probe in Supreme Court

Bengaluru: E-commerce major Flipkart has moved the Supreme Court challenging last week’s Karnataka High Court order which cleared the way for the Competition Commission of India ( CCI ) to probe firms like Flipkart and Amazon India, according to sources aware of the matter. Flipkart has filed an appeal and…

Read more: Flipkart challenges Karnataka HC order on CCI probe in Supreme Court

Grofers joins express delivery rush amid online grocery boom

Mumbai | Bengaluru: Grofers has launched a 15-minute online grocery delivery service in Gurugram, cofounder Albinder Dhindsa wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. He claimed the company delivered groceries in over 7,000 households within 15 minutes on Monday. The latest development marks the comeback of express deliveries—typically within an…

Read more: Grofers joins express delivery rush amid online grocery boom

Inter-ministerial talks on to finalise ecommerce policy: Govt to Parliament

Minister of State for commerce and industry Som Parkash told Rajya Sabha that a draft of National e-Commerce policy has been prepared after detailed public consultations. “Valuable suggestions have been received from many stakeholders. Inter-ministerial consultations are being held to finalise the National e-Commerce Policy,” he said in a written…

Read more: Inter-ministerial talks on to finalise ecommerce policy: Govt to Parliament

Amazon India adds 11 new fulfilment centres ahead of festive season

Bengaluru: Amazon India has added 11 fulfilment centres and expanded nine existing ones to increase storage capacity by 40% compared to last year. The e-commerce company now has more than 60 fulfilment centres and over 25 specialised sites in the country dedicated to grocery and the daily essentials business. The…

Read more: Amazon India adds 11 new fulfilment centres ahead of festive season

Amazon's online store down for many users globally

E-commerce giant Amazon‘s online store was grappling with widespread outages on Sunday night, according to outage monitoring website Downdetector, the second broad disruption to services since late June. Its online store showed error messages on several regional domains. Reuters could not access product listing on its domains including, the United…

Read more: Amazon's online store down for many users globally

Business back to normal, non-metros driving growth, new customer addition: Amazon's Tiwary

Amazon India said on Thursday that business has returned to normal and that the e-commerce platform is witnessing faster recovery rates from non-metro regions. Amazon India’s vice president (consumer business) Manish Tiwary told ET that the e-tailer has seen better-than-anticipated growth in new customer acquisitions after the second Covid-19 wave,…

Read more: Business back to normal, non-metros driving growth, new customer addition: Amazon's Tiwary

Amazon opens its first Digital Kendra for MSMEs in Surat

Under its initiative to digitise MSMEs, Amazon India on July 8 launched its first Digital Kendra in Surat, Gujarat. Earlier in April, during Amazon Smbhav, its annual event for small and medium businesses, the company had announced the launch of the physical centre in the state. “Gujarat is a manufacturing…

Read more: Amazon opens its first Digital Kendra for MSMEs in Surat

PhonePe partners Flipkart to digitise cash-on-delivery payments

Govt extends deadline for feedback on proposed e-commerce changes

Online merchants need to be ready for the unexpected costs of false declines

Scoop: UK-based Amazon rival OnBuy to raise fresh cash of £30M

Preventing fraud and ensuring payment security are vital for eCommerce to succeed, says Visa

Flipkart, Amazon may be hit by proposed ban on flash sales, stricter rules

Amazon, Flipkart challenge Karnataka HC order to stall CCI probe

Opinion | Like China, India, too, needs its own home-grown e-commerce champions

OTHER NEWS