Five years since the government made MRP and the best-before date mandatory on e-commerce platforms, established platforms and their sellers are more compliant than the newer ones, finds a survey by LocalCircles.
The government in 2018 made it mandatory for e-commerce sites and apps in India to disclose MRPs of all packaged products on their platforms. Despite this, some like Tata Cliq, BlinkIt, Lenskart, Meesho, Purplle, Dunzo, Patanjali and others have been reported for violating the guidelines, said the survey. Last time, in December 2021, complaints were also received against Swiggy Instamart, Meesho and Shopee.
Two in five e-commerce consumers surveyed indicated that they are still unable to find MRP information on packaged products on many e-commerce sites and apps despite it being legally mandatory, the survey highlighted.
About 47 per cent of the consumers in a survey aiming to find out if the display of MRP and best-before dates on e-commerce platforms has been improving or not, said they found MRP displayed on all packaged products on these platforms, while eight per cent found no MRP displayed on any of the products that they bought online.
Eleven per cent of the respondents were able to find MRP displayed on less than 20 per cent of packaged products, while 19 per cent found it on 20-50 per cent of packaged products. Two per cent were not sure and 13 per cent admitted that they hadn’t looked for MRP specifically when shopping online.
LocalCircles, which has been tracking the issue of non-compliance by e-commerce platforms, escalated this matter to the Department of Legal Metrology for corrective action. LocalCircles reported its first study on the issue in 2017. The latest survey is the fourth edition.
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“While overall there is an improvement in compliance to PCR 2017 by e-commerce platforms, some of the newer ones (players) still seem to have platform- or seller-level non-compliances, such that MRP or best-before date are not displayed,” said Sachin Taparia, founder, LocalCircles.
This year consumers shared instances of non-compliance by Tata Cliq, Meesho, Dunzo, Blinkit, Lenskart, Purrple and Patanjali, among others. The results have been escalated to the Department of Legal Metrology, Government of India, for further review and corrective action,” Taparia said.
The percentage of consumers who said they found MRP displayed online for all packaged products rose from 22 per cent in 2018 to 35 per cent in 2021, and now to 47 per cent, which is an encouraging sign, the survey finds.
It also highlighted that the percentage of consumers who indicated that the best-before date was found displayed online for all packaged products for human consumption rose from 10 per cent in 2021 to 21 per cent in 2023. Another 31 per cent were able to find the information for 20-50 per cent of the products.
The survey received over 23,000 responses from 307 districts. Sixty two per cent of the respondents were men, 38 per cent were women. About 44 per cent were from tier-1 cities, 34 per cent from tier-2 and 22 per cent were from tier-3, 4 and rural districts.