As per the feedback received from consumers on the Centre’s order to publish maximum retail price (MRP) on products, data discovered that most sellers on e-commerce sites have failed to comply with the norm, a day before the deadline (January 1).
Earlier in the year, the Department of Consumer Affairs altered the Packaged Commodity Rules, 2011 and issued a notification which declared that from January 1, 2018, sellers on all e-commerce sites will have to reveal the actual MRP of the product.
However, the Department of Consumer Affairs had given a 6 months window for the e-commerce sites to abide by; a survey conducted by LocalCircles exposed that most of them still are not ready with MRP revelation on 100 % of the products. Data suggested that only 10-12 % of the products on an e-commerce site are now showing MRP, as they are being stocked by the sites themselves.
In the previous survey done by LocalCircles, consumers, in addition to the MRP disclosure, had also demanded via the Connected Consumer circle operated by the Department of Consumer Affairs that all human consumption products (food, medicines, cosmetics, contact lenses) listed on e-commerce sites must also show expiry dates so the consumer can make a well-versed choice. The same was also mandated by the department and through the Packaged Commodity Rule amendment 2017, and the same was made mandatory from January 1, 2018.
This means that the same food product may now be listed twice, based on the manufacturing lot number. Although e-commerce sites are outlining fulfillment difficulties for this new requirement, it does help the consumer. Consumers earlier had reported receiving products from e-commerce sites which has 30-60 days of shelf life remaining and their ensuing inability to consume them, with the return policy on such items being quite rigid.
Consumers recommend that if the Department of Consumer Affairs focuses on enforcing these in a collaborative way with the e-commerce sellers, both parties will stand to benefit. However, the department must make sure the new rules do not give way to inspector raj as it will be the food and legal metrology inspectors from the state consumer and food department knocking on the e-commerce warehouse to check compliance, they said.
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Jatin Bhatia, From ITvoir News Desk