E-commerce covered under Consumer Protection Act

Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs Raosaheb Patil Danve while replying to a query in Lok Sabha that, whether there is any proposal to bring e-commerce operations under the Consumer Protection Law in view of complaints of cheating and other malpractices by such companies said in a written reply that, E-commerce operations are already covered under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and the Central Government is not facing any loss in indirect tax revenue due to expansion of online retail business.

Minister also pointed that, Goods which are imported/manufactured are cleared on payment of duty of customs/central excise, as the case may be, at the time of import/clearance from the factory. Therefore, as far as the Central Government is concerned, there is no loss to indirect tax revenue due to expansion of e-commerce”.

The Consumer Protection Act provides for better protection of consumers interest. Under the law, consumer forums have been set up for the settlement of disputes.

Under the provisions of the Consumer protection Act, “consumer” means any person who;

  1. buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment when such use is made with the approval of such person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose; or
  2. hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who ‘hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person but does not include a person who avails of such services for any commercial purposes;

Explanation – For the purposes of this clause, “commercial purpose” does not include use by a person of goods bought and used by him and services availed by him exclusively for the purposes of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment

In order to further strengthen this law, the government is planning to introduce amendments to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) 1986 in the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

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