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Over 22% of consumer complaints in India in last 4 years are linked to e-commerce sector

Complaints related to banking and telecom sectors also form major chunks of consumer grievances, according to Department of Consumer Affairs.

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New Delhi: Over 22 per cent of all complaints received from consumers in India are related to transactions performed on e-commerce platforms.

According to data revealed by Department of Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan at a press conference Monday, on the occassion of the annual World Consumer Rights Day, between April 2017 and February 2021, India’s grievance redressal system registered 5,23,837 complaints related to e-commerce; 2,06,417 related to the banking sector; and 1,83,185 related to telecom.

Product-wise, the maximum number of consumer complaints were related to electronics — 1,12,200, or almost 5 per cent of all complaints.

Senior officials from the department told ThePrint that on average, 70,000 complaints are registered with the National Consumer Helpline every month.

“More and more product-related rights such as country of origin details have been made mandatory on e-commerce platforms over the last few years, which has led to increased complaints from this year,” said Secretary Nandan.

“However, the majority of e-commerce companies are now coming around to maintain compliance with consumer rights, and therefore, provide accordingly redressal to the consumers.”

Also read: Modi govt’s new IT rules don’t empower consumers, but expand State power over online content

Misleading ads

Five companies had to withdraw their advertisements during the pandemic, due to misleading claims of immunity boost and killing the virus and “over 99.9 per cent germs”.

Nidhi Khare, additional secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs and chief commissioner of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), said: “Show cause notices were issued to many multinational companies for violation of consumer rights during Covid times, including through misleading ads. More than 135 notices were also issued for violation of package commodity rules including country of origin to such companies.”

She added: “One large multinational company which claimed that their product kills over 99.9 per cent virus and germs was also asked to take down its advertisement as it was charged with misleading the consumers across the country.”

The CCPA, which was established on 24 July 2020, promotes, protects and enforces the rights of consumers by conducting investigations into alleged violations. It can also institute complaints/prosecution along with ordering a recall of unsafe goods and services, and order discontinuation of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements by imposing penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers.

The Department of Consumer Affairs also stated that with an increase in consumer complaints, the redressal of such complaints has increased year-on-year. More than 98 per cent of the total 2,62,925 consumer cases registered between April to December 2020 have been resolved so far. This ratio was just 93 per cent from April 2019-March 2020, when 2,69,501 of the total of 2,89,483 complaints registered were resolved.

Also read: ‘A first’ — why consumer court sentenced MD, directors of Parsvnath Developers to 3-yr jail

Edited by Shreyas Sharma

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