MRP disclosure compliance by eCommerce sites shows improvement but display of best before dates still a concern
August 21, 2019, New Delhi: In the last few years, the Department of Consumer Affairs has taken many decisions to empower the Indian consumers. One such decision was the implementation of the Packaged Commodity Rules 2017, which came into effect on 1st January 2018, and mandated the display of MRP of every product on all ecommerce sites operating in India. It also mandated the display of the ‘best before date’ of all human consumption items being sold across ecommerce sites to help consumers take informed decisions.
Since then, LocalCircles has continuously been monitoring the consumer pulse on their experience with the compliance of these rules by ecommerce site in the Connected Consumer circles founded by the Department of Consumer Affairs. 18 months after PCR 2017 came into force, LocalCircles conducted a survey to check what has been the status in the last 3 months. The 2-poll survey received close to 15,000 votes from over 9,000 unique consumers.
The first question asked the consumers if most ecommerce platforms that they have shopped on in the last 3 months, are now disclosing MRP information on their site/app. 44% answered in a ‘no’ while 56% answered in a ‘yes’.
44% consumers could not find MRP information on packaged products on eCommerce sites
When compared with previous months, stats also show that there has been a minor but constant improvement in the compliance of MRP disclosure by ecommerce sites in India. The number of consumers who were able to find MRP information on ecommerce sites stood at 38% at the 3-month mark, 47% at 6-month mark and 55% at the 9-month mark.
Compliance by eCommerce sites to disclose MRP information for products shows minor improvements
The second question asked the consumers if most ecommerce platforms that they have shopped on in the last 3 months, are now disclosing best before dates/expiry date for food products on their sites/app. 54% answered in a ‘no’ while 46% answered in a ‘yes’.
54% consumers could not find best before date information on human consumption products on eCommerce sites
Similar to MRP disclosure, the best before date disclosure has also shown slight improvement over the months. The percentage of people who were able to find best before date for human consumption products on ecommerce sites stood at 13% at the 3-month mark, 40% at 6-month mark and 43% at the 9-month mark.
Compliance by eCommerce sites to disclose best before date for human consumption products shows minor improvement
Some examples where the MRP disclosure rules are being followed:
Some examples where the ‘best before/expiry date’ disclosure rules are being followed:
Some examples where the MRP disclosure rules are not being followed:
Some examples where the ‘best before/expiry date’ rules are not being followed:
There are also many other companies which sell their products through their own websites and are not complying to either one, or both the PCR 2017 mandates of MRP and best before date display. Screenshots from 2 of such sites – Patanjali and Sri Sri Tattva – are given below.
Disclaimer: The above screenshot submissions are received from consumers between Jan - Aug 2019 and validated by LocalCircles.
Some ecommerce sites which were earlier not complying with these regulations have now started complying. However, there are still many ecommerce platforms which are either partially complying or not complying at all. Consumers also reported that some sites have listed the MRP but it not easy to find. It sometimes takes as many as 3 clicks to find the actual MRP of the product. It is imperative that strict enforcement of these rules is done by State Legal Metrology Controllers so that the cases of consumers being misled, can be minimized.