The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on August 4 passed an order against Amazon for allowing the sale of domestic pressure cookers in violation of mandatory standards on its e-commerce platform. It has asked Amazon to pay a fine of Rs 1,00,000 for “allowing the sale of pressure cookers in violation of QCO and for violating the rights of consumers”.
The Central Consumer Protection Authority, headed by Chief Commissioner Nidhi Khare, passed the order against violation of consumer rights by Amazon’s e-commerce platform by allowing sale of domestic pressure cookers. The authority has initiated suo-moto action against e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm Mall, Shopclues, and Snapdeal, and the sellers registered on these platforms, for sale of domestic pressure cookers in violation to compulsory standards on its e-commerce platforms.
After examining the response submitted by Amazon, it was observed that a total of 2,265 pressure cookers not conforming to mandatory standards were sold through Amazon after notification of the QCO. The total fee earned by the Amazon on sale of such pressure cookers through its platform was Rs 6,14,825.41.
Amazon admitted that it earned ‘sales commission’ fee for the pressure cookers sold on its platform and the CCPA observed that when Amazon earns commercially from each sale of the product listed on its e-commerce platform, it cannot disassociate itself in case of issues arising from sale of products through its platform.
It may be mentioned that CCPA had passed similar order of penalty and recall of defective pressure cookers against Paytm Mall, which has complied with direction passed by CCPA and deposited the penalty of Rs 1,00,000.
Amazon has been directed to notify the consumers of all the 2,265 pressure cookers, and recall and reimburse the prices of such pressure cookers to consumers. The e-com giant has also been directed to submit a compliance report within 45 days.
Meanwhile, the CCPA has informed that it is constantly monitoring the consumer protection landscape in the country and has recently issued an advisory to all e-commerce platforms with regard to the sale of Ayurvedic, Siddha, and Unani drugs containing ingredients as listed in Schedule E (1) of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules. It highlighted that the sale or facilitation of sale of such drugs shall be done only after a valid prescription of a registered medical practitioner is uploaded by the user on the platform.
The CCPA has also recently issued safety notices under Section 18(2)(j) of the Act to alert and caution consumers against buying goods that do not hold valid ISI mark and violate compulsory BIS standards. While the first safety notice was issued with regard to helmets, pressure cookers, and cooking gas cylinders, the second was issued with regard to household goods including electric immersion water heaters, sewing machines, microwave ovens, domestic gas stoves with LPG, etc.
Further, the CCPA has issued guidelines for the prevention of misleading advertisements and endorsements for misleading advertisements. This includes conditions for valid and non-misleading advertisements, due diligence required for endorsement of advertisements, and considerations for advertisements targeted at children.