Government to propose a plan for reimbursing online consumers who receive fake items

The Central government is considering a cashback scheme where e-commerce companies will reimburse consumers who receive fake or duplicate products from their platform. According to Hindu Business Line the DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion) is planning to propose a scheme which will be implemented on voluntary basis with Consumer Affairs Ministry and e-commerce companies. Talks are still in nascent stage and will take some time to take the final shape.

As of now the Consumer Affairs Ministry already operates a helpline for e-commerce customers and will also be responsible for implementing the proposed scheme. According to one of the officials, the reimbursement scheme would be applicable on items such as mobiles if they are found to be counterfeit post repairing and have surpassed the replacement period of 30 days. The scheme will be applicable on products that do not have a replacement with the original.

Similar schemes are already in place in countries like Hong Kong and Canada where reimbursements are provided by banking channels. However, in India digital payment still shares a small percentage of the entire e-commerce domain. Therefore, a different model needs to be implemented so that cash back scheme can be executed successfully.

As per initial plans of the scheme once consumers realise that they have received a counterfeit they would have to file a complaint with Consumer Affairs Ministry. The complaint will subsequently be routed to the e-commerce company. After analyzing that the product is not genuine and with further approval of the right holders the e-commerce company will initiate a cash back to consumers’ accounts.