Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI), a non-profit consumer body to protect and educate the Indian consumer, has strongly appealed to Indian government to form a regulatory body for e-commerce called as, Online Commerce Regulatory Authority (OCRA), which can be on the lines of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).
RERA , which is first regulator of Indian real estate industry, aims to protect the interests of real estate consumers and also boost investments in the real estate sector.
The proposed e-commerce regulatory body OCRA will allow online sellers/merchants to register online, maintain proper accounting of their sales and adhere to strict quality control. All this are proposed to occur automatically from OCRA.
Notably, in July this year, government had drafted a national e-commerce policy which also propose a national regulator for e-commerce that too aims to ensure consumer protection, along with compliance with foreign investment caps in e-commerce.
However, the proposed OCRA will be quite different from the one by government as the later is an independent regulator that will deal with consumer complaints, compliance with FDI caps. Whereas, OCRA proposed by CGSI will deal with the registration of all online commercial retailers and suppliers, regulate their advertisements and ultimately make e-commerce companies accountable with authorities to attend to the grievances faced by the consumers and avoid multiple frauds.
According to Dr MS Kamath, honorary secretary of CGSI, “The online commercial market is expected to grow at a 30% compound annual rate for gross merchandise value worth $200 billion by 2026. As the industry grows, there is also a clamour of complaints against online commerce companies of cheating their consumers and often delivering them goods which are far short of what they offer in their advertisements.”
He further informed that in 2017, CGCI received 275 complaints against e-commerce companies and of the total 275 complaints, Amazon constituted 13.86%, Flipkart 12.87%, Paytm 11.55%, Snapdeal 7.59% and e-Bay 7.26%.
The proposed law for establishing OCRA will also have a provision for timely and assured delivery, transparent refund mechanism, post-sale services, enforcement of post sales warranty, the establishment of Consumer Protection Fund and formation of online courts.
CGSI was founded 50 years ago by women activists in 1966 actively champions for the rights of consumers in India and it was the efforts of CGSI that the Consumer Protection Act was enacted in the year 1986 and the Consumer Courts were set up across India thereafter.
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