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Website display has gained prominence after the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act(CPA),2019. A significant feature of the CPA,2019 is the “Misleading Advertisement” and “Unfair Trade Practices”. These clauses make a Direct Selling entity liable for action as website display are “Advertisement” within the meaning of the Act and any wrong display on the website or any omission or commission in this regard may culminate in action for violation of rules and regulations both under the Unfair trade practices and misleading advertisement clauses of the Act. These guidelines have to be strictly followed to make website display advertisements in an uninterrupted manner.
While displaying on the website an entity has to ensure that the display should comply with and not violate the provisions of the following Acts, Rules & Regulations:
a) Consumer Protection Act(CPA), 2019
b) Direct Selling Guidelines, 2016
c) Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules,2020 and its subsequent amendments as Direct selling entities fall within the ambit of the Inventory model of E-commerce.
d) Legal Metrology (Packaged) Commodities Rules, 2011 and its subsequent amendments
e) FSSAI(Food Safety & Standards Authority) Packaging Rules as amended in 2021 wherever applicable
f) Drugs and Cosmetics Packaging Rules, 2020 wherever applicable
g) Magic Remedies (Banning)Act
Recently, the CPA Act has become more prominent as any Legal Metrology Official sitting in a remote corner of the country can also take action for the wrongful display of the product labels, even if the entity does not have any Direct seller or a Franchisee or pickup store or business there.
It would be advisable that every entity to review its website and ensure that its website display does not violate any law of the land. While ensuring that its display does not have wrongful display it has also to be ensured that it displays correctly what it is required to display under the law of land. Omission and commission both will invite penal action. Lastly, in order to avoid penalties arising due to website display violations, it is mandatory to stay updated with the CPA guidelines and adhere to the same.