The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) sent notices to two e-commerce entities, Flipkart Internet Private Ltd and Fashnear Technologies Private Ltd (meesho.com) for gross violations relating to sale of acid reported on their platforms, and directed them to furnish detailed responses within 7 days.
The CCPA, the watchdog of consumer interest in India, has come across the sale of highly corrosive acids on these e-commerce platforms. It has questioned the easy and unregulated availability of such acids on these e-platforms. Availability of hazardous acids in such accessible manner can be dangerous and unsafe for consumers and to the public at large, it said.
In light of a recent unfortunate incident of acid attack on a 17-year-old in Delhi whereby media reports have highlighted that the alleged offenders had purchased the said acid from Flipkart, it has been directed by CCPA to submit a detailed response, along with necessary supporting documents within 7 days, addressing the concern of such availability of acids on its e-platform, Consumer Affairs Ministry officials said on Friday.
The CCPA, on a suo moto examination of online sale of corrosive acids, came across Meesho and found it to be selling such acids in violation of directions of Supreme Court as well as the advisory issued by Ministry of Home Affairs.
Any non-compliance by these e-commerce entities with the directions of CCPA’s notices will be strictly dealt with as per the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, said officials.
‘Consumer rights’, as defined under Section 2(9) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, includes the right to be protected against the marketing of goods, products or services which are hazardous to life and property. Sale of highly corrosive acids in an easy, accessible and unregulated manner without any due diligence whatsoever by the e-marketplace entity can lead to disastrous consequences to the consumers, especially the vulnerable sections of the society, namely women and children.
As per Section 4 (3) of Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, no e-commerce entity shall adopt any unfair trade practice, whether in the course of business on its platform or otherwise.
Considering the urgent need and attention, the CCPA has taken suo moto note of the present matter, as under Section 18 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 which empowers it to protect, promote and enforce the rights of consumers as a class, and prevent violation of consumer rights, as well as prevent unfair trade practices and ensure that no person engages himself in such practices.