India proposes user safeguard rules for e-commerce companies

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India is proposing a series of consumer safeguards that forbid e-commerce companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart Online Services Pvt. from influencing pricing, adopting unfair promotion methods or misrepresenting the quality of goods and services.

E-commerce companies must self-declare compliance and also provide a way for customers to contact them directly, said the proposed e-Commerce Guidelines for consumer protection 2019, published on the Department of Consumer Affairs website. The department invited parties to provide feedback by Sept 16.

Among the key guidelines are those that require platforms like Amazon and Flipkart to declare all details about their sellers including address, website and email address. The platforms are also required to display terms of contract with the seller relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty, delivery and mode of payments.

Earlier this year, India tightened rules for e-commerce platforms after complaints from small shops and domestic sellers. Amazon and Flipkart are now banned from striking exclusive arrangements with sellers, offering deep discounts or holding any business interest in online merchants on their websites. Groups representing small traders have continued to allege that large platforms prioritize and sell products of a favored few vendors with whom they have commercial linkages.

Comprehensive Rules

The proposed consumer safeguards could come in handy as the country works on a comprehensive set of rules for the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market. “The larger e-commerce policy is being drafted and is expected to take several months, so the government is taking immediate steps to enhance protection of consumer rights,” said Sachin Taparia, chief executive officer of LocalCircles India Pvt., a social community which helped gather inputs from consumers through polls and surveys.

After the formal consultation is completed by mid September, the government is likely to include the proposals in its Consumer Protection Act, Taparia said.

The draft guidelines seek to protect personally-identifiable information of customers and set a 14-day limit for payments toward refund requests. Counterfeit products cannot be listed on e-commerce websites or companies could be held liable.

The department of consumer affairs proposed that every e-commerce entity publish the name and contact details of its grievance officer, who would have to address complaints within one month from the date of receipt.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.