New Delhi: The consumer affairs ministry consented to industry demands and extended the deadline for companies to send their views on the proposed changes on consumer protection (e-commerce) rules to July 21. With the government asking for public comment on the proposed changes, LocalCircles, a community social media platform, has conducted a survey on how people perceive the use of e-commerce to purchase products/services. Besides their opinion on the recent restrictions on sales and usage of information like country of origin etc, the survey went on to share insights on severall aspects of the functioning of e-commerce portals.

According to the survey, almost 72 per cent consumers believe that the government should not limit e-commerce sites and apps to offer discounts/sales. There were only 19 per cent of consumers who agreed with the restrictions on discounts while 9 per cent did not have an opinion. This question in the survey received 10,738 responses.

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With the penetration of e-Commerce sites, consumers are now able to make informed decisions. Several consumers also mentioned how they look for prices online, call local retail stores, negotiate and are able to make faster purchasing decisions wherever they find the best price/delivery time combination. A few consumers even expressed how restricting sales or discounts in the online world would increase their purchasing costs both online and offline.

   

Some customers pointed out misleading advertisements where it may lead consumers to believe that a product is selling at deeply discounted prices only to find out later that it was just a handful of units which should have been specified in the advertisement. Misleading advertisements remains an area of concern and consumers demanded that the government come out with an advertisement code and regulate the same.

The government in the amendment for Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules 2020 has added the Country-of-Origin information as a requirement for e-Commerce sites in an attempt to inform the consumer whether the product is ‘Made in India’ or overseas.

Around 43 per cent consumers sought country of origin information for all their purchases during the last six months when shopping on e-commerce platforms. Around 43 per cent consumers said “did it for all purchases” and 13 per cent said “did it for 25-50 per cent of the purchases” while 4 per cent said “did it for 10-25 per cent of the purchases.” Only 26 per cent responded “never” and 5 per cent did not have an opinion. This indicates that 43 per cent consumers sought country of origin information for all their purchases during the last six months when shopping on e-commerce.

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