E-commerce company Amazon (Amazon) has been fined 25 thousand for not showing many important information on its platform. According to an official order issued by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, Amazon has not published information on the country of origin of some products, where they are manufactured, on its e-commerce website. Last month, the Consumer Affairs Ministry issued a notice to the leading e-commerce companies Flipkart and Amazon for not showing these information. A senior official of the ministry said that a case of violation of any rules has come out against Flipkart.
A fine of Rs 25,000 has been imposed under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 and the Legal Metrology (Package Commodities) Rules, 2011, along with all the directors of the Amazon Cellar Service based in Bangalore.
What is law?
It is mandatory under section 18 (1) of the Legal Metrology Act 2009 and section 6 (10) of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) Rules, 2011 to show ‘country of origin’ of products. Violation of this will be punished under section 36 (1) of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009. For the first time, a fine of up to 25 thousand rupees can be found for violation of rules and the second time a fine of 50 thousand rupees or imprisonment or both can be found. In January 2018, the Central Government amended the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011. Under this amendment, it was made mandatory for all manufacturers, importers, packers and e-commerce companies to show ‘country of origin’. In June this year, DPIIT invited ideas from e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart to show this information on its online platform.
What does ‘country of origin’ mean
Country of origin means in which country the product is made. It does not matter where it was shipped from. For example, if a Chinese mobile handset is sent via Vietnam to India, then on the online platform, its Country of Origin will show China instead of Vietnam.
Another special thing is that under this provision, the same ‘country of origin’ will remain where the final product is ready. For example, if you talk about mobile, its parts like a chip, battery are ready in different countries, but in the final country where they are assembled and made mobile, ‘country of origin’ will be the same.
This provision is not only applicable to private online platforms like Amazon and Flipkart, but it is also mandatory for all vendors to show ‘Country of Origin’ on the government e-marketplace portal. Government departments make purchases through this government platform.
It is mandatory to show this information
It is mandatory to show any information for any product sold offline or online. Such as maximum retail price (MRP), date of expiry, net quantity, consumer care details and country of origin. According to the ministry, if companies do not give a satisfactory response within seven days of receiving the notice order, legal action can be initiated against them without any notice.
Instructions to strictly implement the provision
In July, the Ministries of Consumer Affairs had directed all the state governments to strictly enforce the provision of ‘Country of Origin’ on all products for companies and e-commerce players. The provision was implemented two years ago from January 2018 for all manufacturers, importers, packers and e-commerce players, but in July this year, former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan called it strictly for e-commerce companies from all state governments. Was asked to implement. This decision came at a time when due to the increasing tension between India and China in Ladakh, there was a voice of boycott of Chinese goods across the country. This decision in a way promotes the campaign of self-reliant India.
Deadline was fixed till 30 September
In August, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had asked all e-commerce companies to provide ‘country of origin’ information by September 30 for all products on their online platforms. Although at that time, e-commerce companies believed that the deadline of September 30 is not possible and this information can be made available by this time for new products, but for old products it may take more time. Earlier, the central government was thinking of making it mandatory from August 1, but online retailers had declared it impossible.