The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has penalised e-commerce major Flipkart over sale of domestic pressure cookers of sub-standard quality. The consumer rights authority has ordered the company to recall the same, and pay a penalty of ₹1 lakh for allowing sale of such pressure cookers on its platform and violating rights of consumers.

The Walmart-owned online retailer has been directed to notify all buyers of 598 pressure cookers sold on its website, recall the products, and reimburse their prices to the buyers. The e-tailer has to file a compliance report of the same within 45 days. As per a government statement, the e-commerce site “admittedly earned a total fee of ₹1,84,263 through sale of such pressure cookers on its e-commerce platform.”

“It was observed by CCPA that when Flipkart has gained commercially from the sale of such pressure cookers, it cannot alienate itself from the role and responsibility arising out of their sale to consumers,” the statement states.

The CCPA observed that provisions in the Flipkart’s terms of use, such as mandatory use of the words ‘Powered by Flipkart’ on every invoice of the product and categorising sellers for distribution of various benefits, indicate its role in sale of the pressure cookers on its e-commerce platform.

As per central government’s quality control order (QCO), pressure cookers sold in the country have to mandatorily conform to IS 2347:2017 quality standard, and due diligence regarding the same is to be done for all products sold online or offline. The crackdown on sub-standard pressure cookers is part of CCPA’s crackdown to prevent sale of spurious and counterfeit goods that violate these QCOs. Daily-use products under the ambit of this campaign include helmets, domestic pressure cookers and cooking gas cylinders.

Under the campaign, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has seized 1,435 pressure cookers and 1,088 helmets which did not conform to mandatory standards.

CCPA has also written to district collectors across the country to investigate unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights concerning manufacture or sale of such products, and submit a report on action taken in this direction.

The authority has also issued safety notices to caution consumers against buying goods that do not bear a valid ISI mark and violate compulsory BIS standards. While the first safety notice included helmets, pressure cookers and cooking gas cylinders, the second one talked about household goods including electric immersion water heaters, sewing machines, microwave ovens, domestic gas stoves with LPG, and others.

Earlier this month, CCPA had passed a similar order against Amazon India, ordering the online e-commerce giant to recall 2,265 pressure cookers sold on its platform, reimburse the buyers, and submit a penalty of ₹1 lakh. Amazon had earned ₹6.14 lakh by selling these pressure cookers.

As per government data, 38% of all grievances received on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) in July were related to e-commerce platforms. Major categories of consumer grievances in e-commerce include delivery of defective products, non-payment of refund amount, delay in product delivery, etc.

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