E-commerce complaints tops list in national consumer helpline

Out of the almost 60,000 odd complaints that reach the central government’s national consumer helpline (NCH) every month, about 36% is for e-commerce. In 2020, the national helpline received 6, 54,192 grievances of which 28.5% was e-commerce related issues. Banking, telecom, electronics products were the other major areas from which maximum complaints were generated.

Nidhi Khare, additional secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, says, “The NCH data is becoming a major source of information for the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to act upon. We are building intelligence into the complaints that we receive on the national consumer helpline where people are raising all kinds of issues. We then see if there is any pattern where people from different parts of the country are making similar complaints about one product or one policy, and if there is ground for class action, we initiate investigations.” Khare is also the chief commissioner of CCPA.

The CCPA was established under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. It came into force from July 20, 2020. The main aim of the CCPA is to uphold, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class. It also has the authority to conduct investigations into the violation of consumer rights. Other duties include institution of complaints, prosecution, recall of unsafe goods and services, order discontinuation of unfair trade practices. It also takes action against misleading advertisements and impose penalties on manufacturers, endorsers and publishers of misleading advertisements.

Recently in March, CCPA had asked GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare Ltd to withdraw the advertisements of Sensodyne products that claimed to be “recommended by dentists worldwide” and “world’s No.1 sensitivity toothpaste”. In yet another example of CCPA’s vigilance, it has imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on eyewear manufacturer Sure Vision India for a misleading advertisement and directed it to discontinue the commercial. Sure Vision claimed its products improved eyesight naturally and eliminated eye strain. The CCPA initiated action after it received a complaint against the firm, and directed the Director General (Investigation) to investigate the claims made by the company in the advertisement. So, we know that consumers complaints are taken very seriously and they are working tirelessly to lessen those too.

I hope you have loved reading about this topic, which concerns all of us as consumers. In the meantime, keep reading the articles we have brought you this month. We have FSSAI CEO’S article on EatSmart Cities Challenge, a discussion on mutual funds investing, selecting the best diabetic care food and many more. Do share your thoughts at info@consumer-voice.org.

Until then, happy reading!

Pallabi Boruah




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