New Delhi: There has been an increase in consumer complaints related to the e-commerce sector in the last few years. The total number of complaints witnessed a significant increase of over 300 per cent during the last five years. According to the latest data released by the Department of Consumer Affairs, the total number of complaints received on the National Consumer Helpline during 2017-18 was 59,402, which increased to 1,57,574 in 2020-21 and 1,83,851 in 2021-22.
A closer look at the data shows that Uttar Pradesh tops the list of states with the highest number of e-commerce complaints at 25,484, followed by Maharashtra with 18,799 and Rajasthan with 15,620 complaints in 2021-22.
An analysis of data related to e-commerce revealed that about 50 per cent of them came from only five states- Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan and Bihar.
The e-commerce industry has evolved and gained a foothold in the Indian market and has gained significant momentum during the last few years. The rapid spread of the digital economy has led to the rapid growth of the e-commerce industry which was further accelerated by compulsions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) report published in November 2021, the Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow from $46.2 billion in 2020 to $111.40 billion by 2025 and achieve a value of $200 billion by 2026. estimated to do.
For consumers, such online platforms offer products at huge discounts along with facilities like door-step delivery and return services, resulting in higher consumer satisfaction. However, the growth is not without problems related to consumers.
To deal with consumer related issues, the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, which have been notified under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, aim to protect consumers from unfair trade practices.
They require all e-commerce entities to set up a consumer grievance redressal mechanism, appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal and display the names, contact details and designations of such officers on their platform.
The Grievance Officer has to intimate the receipt of any consumer complaint within 48 hours and redress the same within one month from the date of receipt of the complaint.
Further, the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011 under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 provides that an e-commerce entity shall ensure that the name and address of the manufacturer or packer or importer, Maximum Retail Price (MRP), country of origin , generic or generic name of the commodity, net quantity, month and year of manufacture, customer service details etc. shall be displayed on the digital and electronic networks used for e-commerce transactions.
This is to ensure that the consumer is taking an informed and conscious decision based on the product announcement on the e-commerce platform.
Complaints received on National Consumer Helpline related to e-commerce sector: