back to article India drops the bar on e-commerce seller's listings: You want to sell it? Tell us where it came from from then

India’s Department of Consumer Affairs has detailed new rules for e-commerce operators, including a requirement to reveal a product’s place of origin. The requirement was floated in late June and linked to India’s current self-sufficiency drive and the ongoing border dispute with China. A new draft [PDF] of the regulations …

  1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

    I wouldn't mind seeing those here in the US, especially the ratings part.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      We need those rules too.

      I agree with you on this one.

      It's not a protectionist thing, it's a "making sure I'm buying from whom I _think_ I'm buying" issue.

      My folks are frequent Amazon shoppers & while the item description says it's from one place (Canada, Mexico, etc), the customs info shows it actually came from somewhere else (Where the hell is Esoterica 6?) and if they have any issues requiring them to send the product back, it takes a Midas fortune to do so.

      This especially irritates my mom when she buys something from an Etsi vendor that claims to be here in the States, only to find a customs form on the item when it arrives from Outer Elbonia. If she has to send it back because it wasn't what she ordered, it suddenly costs her more to ship than it took to buy it in the first place.

      Laws that required the sellers to list country of origin, countries of importers, and all the rest would go a LONG way to informing the potential customer if they want to buy something that claims to be local but turns out to have been anything but.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: We need those rules too.

        > something that claims to be local but turns out to have been anything but

        How much of the stuff we buy is really local anyway?... 99% of our stuff is made in some far-away low-wage country, from $1 t-shirts to $1000 smartphones.

        It would be easier to specify the rare products which have been made locally if it weren't for all those loopholes, like "made elsewhere but assembled locally", "made and assembled elsewhere but sticker applied locally", and so on.

        In India's case the sole purpose is to single out Chinese products, so it will work, at least for a while, at least until the Chinese set up some origin-laundering factories in India (or send some tanks to plead against that law).

        1. msknight

          Re: We need those rules too.

          Totally useless. They already have.

          Foxconn has factories in India.

          If they want to hurt China, they need to stop the money flowing back to China. Simply noting origin is a good start, but it isn't going to do very much.

          And that goes for us as well. Country of origin is of little use. Look at TikTok. Just for a start! And then the backing of the latest Top Gun film where they did a re-write of history by the patches on the back of the jacket as TenCent part funded the film -

          1. pradeepvasudev

            Re: We need those rules too.

            Its not as useless as you might think. Foxconn may only be doing assembly in India and all the parts may come from China, but it ensures that India too can grab Foxconn by the short and curlies if needed. Also, if the final point of manufacture is in India, then it radically simplifies local distribution, return policy, warranties, localization, data protection, tax enforcement and so on for the Indian Government.

            In fact, referring to TikTok, even before it was banned in India, TikTok had moved its Indian customer data to India-based servers, which in turn made it easy to legally manage and control.

      2. DrewWyatt

        Re: We need those rules too.

        That doesn't always work anyway. I bought something from Amazon that did come from the UK as promised. The quality was useless, and when I contacted the seller to return it, I was told I would have to pay the postage to their returns centre, in Houston, Texas. When I complained to Amazon they said this was a legitimate requirement, so it was cheaper to suck it up and keep it rather than return it and get my refund.

        TL;DR:Even if the fulfilment centre is in your country, the returns centre may not be.

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: We need those rules too.

          >I was told I would have to pay the postage to their returns centre, in Houston, Texas

          I've never had a problem with Amazon returns in the US. You download a return label, stick it on the box and drop it off at the nearest UPS center or Kohl's store. The setup in the UK should be roughly the same.

          Its possible that contacting the seller directly may be the problem. Sellers don't like returns because its not just a lost sale but they have to eat the cost of returning the goods so they've got no incentive to encourage returns.

          1. foxyshadis

            Re: We need those rules too.

            Sounds like it was a third-party seller, not Amazon Prime. Amazon washes their hands of the matter if you buy something outside their warehouses.

        2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          Re: We need those rules too.

          At DrewWyatt, this is my mom's biggest gripe.

          In her most recent incident of this kind the seller claimed to be in San Francisco, California which is essentially a short crow flight away. The shipment should have taken 2~3 days to get here. It took over a week (6 days plus the Sunday in the middle) and the customs slip indicated it had come from *Pakistan*. This is _not_ a "local" seller, it's an intermediary for an overseas source. She needed to return the item & wanted to return it to the seller, but was told it would have to go to Pakistan instead & thus cost *three times* the original purchase price to get it there.

          Mom complained to the Etsi folks whom told her to be sure to read each seller's return policy before purchasing. This did *not* make her happy as an advertised as local seller should in no way require international shipping. After much back & forth between her, the seller, & Etsi, she finally just called her CC company, explained the situation, at which point the CC company refunded the money, charged the seller, & gave Etsi a kicking for letting it get so far.

          As I said in my first post, had the laws been on the books to reveal such info, perhaps potential buyers would steer clear of such sellers. While it might not disclose _everything_ about the product, having a clear "requires international shipping for returns" on the listing would certainly have made my mom skip that seller.

          *Hands you a pint & taps rims*

          To not getting screwed over by the sellers. If they do it then it should be legal to ship them a box of live bobcats...

        3. Aussie Doc Bronze badge

          Re: We need those rules too.

          Slightly OT but it's sad that on El Reg a post of four sentences requires a TL;DR

  2. cb7

    "requirement to offer “guarantees related to the authenticity or genuineness of the imported products”"

    I would have thought a guarantee that the damn thing works and will continue to work for a reasonable period of time would be quite important too, alongside knowing where it came from.

  3. Mike 137 Silver badge

    An excellent move

    Something we could well adopt here in Blighty, but it should go even further. Even trade supplier of goods price at several grand commonly present a photo of the item discreetly labelled "for illustration only" or in one notable case "representative or range" where the "range" encompasses devices with a five to one price range. At the low end we get statements such as "goods supplied may not always match description/illustration".

    This used to be called buying a pig in a poke and it was in the past considered fraudulent to try selling like that. Now it's the norm.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: An excellent move

      While we're at it, do the same for car adverts, the ones showing models you can't actually buy in the UK. The ones where the small print reads "Vehicle shown not available in UK".

      In that case, you shouldn't be allowed to advertise that in the UK. Show us something we can actually buy here, you misleading fuckers. Stop being lazy and dubbing a single advert to reshow in multiple countries. Oh... the UK offering is a bit crap? Improve the UK offering, then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An excellent move

      From time to time and as a mere customer I whinge to Amazon about this - no reaction. My purchasing decisions are almost always based on the source of the goods and the photographs must be clear enough to read the packaging, which often differs from the e-commerce description.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    While there are some China products are poor quality or even dangerous, there is still a lot of stuff made in China which is as good as locally made stuff, yet cost half the price. And a lot of buyers don't give a toss what country it was make in, as long as it is cheaply priced and is of reasonable quality.

    I think this will be even more important once the economic effects of the recession start to hit home for people and they have less cash available to spend.

  5. sketharaman

    "Inform people in case they go Chinese and ignore self-sufficiency drive". This is the first I'm hearing about this. Since it's in the title, I'm assuming this is a provision under the new law. How exactly are ecommerce companies supposed to do that informing? By simply declaring China as Country of Origin and leaving it to people to draw the inference by themselves or do they need to flash some banner at the point of purchase saying "traitor" or something like that?

    1. pradeepvasudev

      You got it. The idea is to let people know if they are ordering something that was made in China (or any other country), so they can decide.

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