CCPA slaps ₹1 lakh fine on Flipkart for selling substandard pressure cookers

The consumer watchdog has also asked Flipkart to take back all the 598 pressure cookers sold on its platform and reimburse their prices to consumers

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The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has slapped a fine of ₹1,00,000 on e-commerce player Flipkart for allowing the sale of substandard domestic pressure cookers on its platform.

The consumer watchdog on Wednesday said that it has also asked Flipkart to take back all the 598 pressure cookers sold on its platform and reimburse their prices to consumers.

The company has also been asked to submit a compliance report of the same within 45 days

CCPA Chief Commissioner Nidhi Khare told PTI that the penalty was imposed on the e-commerce giant for allowing the sale of pressure cookers without a mandatory quality standard mark on its e-commerce platform and violating the rights of consumers.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs in a statement said that Flipkart earned a total of ₹1,84,263 through the sale of such pressure cookers.

It said the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) conducted a raid and seized a number of helmets and pressure cookers which didn’t confirm to Indian safety standards.

“1,435 pressure cookers and 1,088 helmets which did not conform to mandatory standards have been seized by BIS. CCPA has also written to chief secretaries of all states and UTs to direct requisite action under law and ensure compliance with standards directed for compulsory use by the central government to protect the interest of consumers,” the ministry said.

Since February 2021, the government has mandated conformity of standards and the use of the quality mark on domestic pressure cookers to protect consumers from the risk of suffering injury and in the interest of the public at large.

All domestic pressure cookers are required to conform to IS 2347:2017 standard and due diligence is required to be done whether the pressure cookers are offered for sale online or offline.

According to the CCPA, Flipkart in its Terms of Use has mentioned ‘powered by Flipkart’ on every invoice of the product and distinguishing sellers as Gold, Silver and Bronze for distribution of various benefits, which indicates the role played by the e-commerce major in the sale of the pressure cookers on its platform.

The CCPA chief said, “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”.

To raise awareness and quality consciousness among consumers, the CCPA has launched a country-wide campaign to prevent the sale of spurious and counterfeit goods that violate compliance with mandatory standards on certain products listed by the government.

Helmets, domestic pressure cookers and cooking gas cylinders are three products that the CCPA is focusing on in its campaign. It has also written to District Collectors across the country to investigate unfair trade practices and violations of consumer rights concerning the manufacture or the sale of such products and submit the action taken report.

Under the campaign, the BIS has conducted search and seizure of a number of non-standard helmets and pressure cookers. As many as 1,435 pressure cookers and 1,088 helmets, which did not conform to mandatory standards have been seized by the BIS, the CCPA chief said.

On the National Consumer Helpline, about 38 per cent of all grievances were related to e-commerce, which includes delivery of the defective product, failure to refund of paid amount and delay in delivery of the product.

(With inputs from agencies)