The practice of fake discounting often alleged against many ecommerce companies may stop after the rules to display MRP and expiry details of packaged products on their platforms comes into effect from January 1. Ecommerce companies will now have to display details such as MRP and use-by date on the website, said BN Dixit, who heads legal metrology at the consumer affairs department.
“This is likely to impact the tendency of companies to exaggerate MRP and then offer discounts or sell items close to their expiry date,” Dixit said.
According to some industry members, ecommerce companies will likely add details as part of the product display slide on their websites. Ecommerce companies usually adopt the technique of displaying prices of goods above MRP and then show steep discounts, which is discovered by consumers only on receiving the product, a representative of the Consumer Af- fairs Ministry said on the condition of anonymity.
ET itself found such discrepancies in MRP on leading ecommerce websites. A recent survey by LocalCircles showed that 42% of 10,000 respondents had seen products listed above MRP and then discounted off the inflated price.
The survey also showed that 98% of the 7,776 respondents said it should be mandatory to disclose the expiry date. “The new rules will help in realistic price disclosures, and fake discounts will also vanish from online platforms,” said Yatish Rajawat, chief strategy offices, LocalCircles.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs amended the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, in June this year, in which it said “an ecommerce entity shall ensure that the mandatory declarations as specified… shall be displayed on the digital and electronic network used for ecommerce transactions”.
Ecommerce companies said they are working with sellers to comply with the new rules. “We have taken multiple steps to inform the sellers on the changes in the legal metrology regulations. We are working with our sellers to enable them to comply with the changes in legal metrology regulations,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
Snapdeal alerted its sellers last week that they may not be allowed to use warehouses of logistics partners if they do not comply with the new guidelines.
“We are educating and training our sellers on the amendments so they can be compliant with the new regulations,” a Flipkart spokesperson said.