To protect online consumers, the Centre has made it mandatory for e-commerce firms to print not only the maximum retail price (MRP) on goods, but also information like expiry date and customer care details. The consumer affairs ministry had made the amendments in this regard to the Legal Metrology (packaged commodities) Rules in June 2017. The companies were given a six-month deadline to comply with the new rule. “Amendment made in the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 to safeguard the interest of consumers and ease of doing business will come into force with effect from January 1, 2018,” the ministry said in a statement.
As per the amendments, goods displayed by the seller on e-commerce platform should contain declarations required under the rules. Along with MRP, the companies have to display the manufacturing date, expiry date, net quantity, country of origin and consumer care details on the label.
“Size of letters and numerals for making declaration is increased, so that consumer can easily read the same,” the ministry said. Specific mention is made in the rules that no person should declare different MRPs (dual MRP) on an identical pre-packaged commodity, it added. Besides, the government has made the net quantity checking more scientific, while bar code/QR coding has been allowed on a voluntarily basis.
At present, only MRP is printed on the goods sold online. The changes come in the backdrop of e-marketplaces posing new and complex consumer protection issues with the ministry receiving several complaints as regard to information deficit on online products/goods. Flipkart, Amazon India, Snapdeal, Grofers and Bigbasket are some of the leading e-marketplaces entities operating in the country.