All packaged products listed for sale on ecommerce sites and apps in India must display the maximum retail price (MRP) so that consumers make informed decisions, according to government rules.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs implemented the Packaged Commodity Rules (PCR) 2017 amendment on January 1, 2018. A PCR 2017 amendment mandated the MRP rule for ecommerce sites and apps.
LocalCircles, which hosts online communities on consumer issues, tracks compliance by ecommerce sites and apps. After seeing a rise in consumer complaints over three years after the law came into effect in 2018, LocalCircles conducted a study that received over 19,000 responses from consumers in 345 districts of India.
The findings provide collective consumer feedback indicating the need for effective enforcement by Legal Metrology Division if consumer interest is to be protected.
The survey received more than 19,000 responses from consumers in 345 districts of India.
As many as 64 per cent of the participants were men and 34 per cent were women. As many as 44 per cent respondents were from tier 1 districts, 32 per cent from tier 2 and 24 per cent respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.
- Many sellers and platforms still do not display MRP and best before date for packaged products
- 1 in 2 consumers say they are unable to find MRP information for packaged products on many ecommerce sites/apps
- 4 in 5 consumers say they are unable to find best before date information for human consumption packaged products on many ecommerce sites/apps
- Older platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc. have the requisite fields but some sellers/products still fail to upload the best before date information
- The study conducted in 2018 revealed that 13 per cent of consumers were able to find best before dates on all packaged human consumption products listed on ecommerce platforms. This has dropped to 10 per cent in 2021.
- The percentage of consumers saying “able to find best before dates on less than 20 per cent packaged products” decreased from 20 per cent in 2018 to 11 per cent on 2021.
- 43 per cent of the consumers were able to find best before dates on 20-50 per cent packaged human consumption in 2021, a slight increase from 33 per cent in 2018
- The percentage of consumers unable to find best before dates on any packaged human consumption products listed on ecommerce sites/apps reduced from 34 per cent to 26 per cent in the same period.
- Data analysis suggests that there has not been much improvement in compliance for displaying best before date on ecommerce sites in the last three years
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