Officials said not only e-commerce, but all purchases, hiring of services and goods sold through direct selling or teleshopping would be included in the proposed amendments to the Act. The amendments are expected to be placed before the Union Cabinet soon and would then be tabled in the Parliament.
Earlier this year, Amway India Chief Executive William Scott Pinckney was arrested for the second time under the Price Chits and Money Circulation Scheme (Banning) Act in Andhra Pradesh. He was later released on bail but the incident exposed loopholes in the law.
The government is in the process of also amending the prize, chits Act.
However, from the point of view of consumers there was little relief available, which compelled the government to look into its inclusion in the Consumer Protection Act.
“Once, inside the Consumer Protection Act, the buyer of goods through these modes will have all a structured grievance redressal mechanism and would not be fleeced easily,” an official said.
Among other changes in the Act will include facilitating mediation and arbitration between parties to bring down the load of cases in consumer courts.
The structure could involve empowering panchayats, gram sabhas or such similar institutions to mediate and arbitrate between parties or designating and appointing such persons. The purpose of this is to ensure that an aggrieved consumer moves the court only after he has exhausted all his options.
Officials said the very purpose of the amendment is to ensure that justice is delivered fast to the consumers and at their nearest point of contact and he is not made to run from pillar to post to file a basic complaint.
The amendment will seek to provide appointment of a mediator by the government to resolve dispute between parties through the normal process or by facilitating discussion between them.
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