Consumer Protection Act 2019

Draft Consumer Protection (Direct Selling) Rules, 2021

Unlike the erstwhile Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (“CPA 2019”), has defined ‘direct selling’[1], and expressly included any person who buys products or avails services through direct selling or multi-level marketing within the definition of ‘consumer’. However, a framework for regulating direct selling under the CPA 2019 has not been put into place till now. With the recently released draft Consumer Protection (Direct Selling) Rules, 2021 (“Draft Rules”), the Department of Consumer Affairs has finally taken demonstrable steps towards formalising the regulatory framework for direct selling entities in India.


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 One-Sided-Contractual-Terms-Constitute-Unfair-Trade-Practice-Under-Consumer-Law-in-India

INTRODUCTION:

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, in Ireo Grace Realtech Pvt. Ltd. v. Abhishek Khanna and Ors.[1], has inter alia held that developers cannot compel apartment buyers to be bound by one-sided contractual terms. Finding such one-sided agreements oppressive, the Court has held that the same would constitute an unfair trade practice under the consumer laws in India.
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Consumer Protection E-Commerce Rules - Need for More Clarity Blog

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has, on July 23, 2020, notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“Rules”) under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (“Act”), with an intent to prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce and protect interests and rights of consumers.

Scope and Applicability 

The Rules are intended to apply to (i) all goods and services bought or sold over digital or electronic networks, (ii) all models of e-commerce, and (iii) all formats of e-commerce retail, with the exception of natural persons transacting in their personal capacity (which is not part of any professional or commercial activity undertaken on a regular or systematic basis). In the absence of any guidance on what ‘regular or systematic basis’ means, a plain reading of this exclusion makes it very narrow.

The Rules govern e-commerce entities (“Platforms”), which own, operate, or manage, a digital or electronic facility or platform for electronic commerce, and sellers of products and services.
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