The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has been tightening the noose on the companies selling substandard items and running misleading ads. Minister of State for Consumer Affairs Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Wednesday said that following notices from the Authority, 13 companies have withdrawn misleading ads and three firms agreed for corrective ads. Recently, CCPA also passed orders against Snapdeal and Paytm Mall for allowing the sale of non-BIS-compliant domestic pressure cookers on their e-commerce platforms.
The CCPA recently directed both e-commerce entities to notify consumers of such pressure cookers, recall the pressure cookers sold, reimburse the prices to the consumers and submit compliance report within 45 days. It also directed them to pay a penalty of Rs 1 lakh for allowing the sale of pressure cookers in violation of the compulsory standard and violating the rights of consumers.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade in January 2020 notified the Domestic Pressure Cooker (Quality Control) Order, 2020, (QCO) mandating conformity to IS 2347:2017 standard and the compulsory use of the standard mark for ‘Domestic Pressure Cooker’.
In the case of Snapdeal, 73 such pressure cookers were found to be sold on its e-commerce platform after coming into force of the QCO. In the case of Paytm Mall, 39 such pressure cookers were recorded to be sold on its e-commerce platform after coming into force of the QCO.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Choubey said that based on the notices issued by the CCPA against misleading advertisements by companies, 13 firms have withdrawn misleading advertisements and three companies agreed for corrective advertisement. The CCPA has also imposed penalties on 3 companies for their misleading advertisements.
The Authority also recently issued two safety notices to alert and make consumers cautious against buying household goods which do not conform to BIS standards. An advisory has also been issued to industry associations highlighting the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act and to impress upon their members to cease from making false claims about effectiveness against corona virus which are not supported by competent and duly authorised scientific advice.
Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the CCPA was established in July 2020 to regulate matters, inter alia, related to false or misleading advertisements that are prejudicial to the interests of public and consumers as a class. CCPA can issue directions to the concerned trader or manufacturer or endorser or advertiser or publisher, as the case may be, to discontinue such advertisement or to modify the same.
FSSAI has also notified the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations in November 2018. These regulations are aimed at establishing fairness in claims and advertisements of food products and make food businesses accountable for such claims/advertisements so as to protect consumer interests.