In view of violation of Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) under the Ministry of Commerce has issued orders against top five e-commerce platforms for selling car seatbelt alarm stopper clips. The clips compromise life and safety of consumer by stopping alarm beep when not wearing seat belts.
Chief Commissioner of CCPA, Nidhi Khare, passed orders against Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Shopclues and Meesho for violation of consumer rights and unfair trade practice.
The issue of the sale of car seatbelt alarm stopper clips came to the notice of CCPA through the letter of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). The letter highlighted the issue of blatant sale of car seat belt alarm stopper clips and requested for action on errant vendors and online platforms and issuance of an advisory. Further, Rule 138 of Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 makes it mandatory to wear seat belts. However, online sales of such items that compromise passengers’ safety by stopping the alarm beep when not wearing seat belts can be unsafe and dangerous to the life & safety of consumers.
Using car seatbelt alarm stopper clips can also be a hurdle for consumers seeking claim amounts in the cases of motor insurance policies, wherein an insurance company may deny the claim by citing the negligence of the claimant for using such clips. On the other hand, using seat belt acts as a restraint that allows the airbag to provide proper cushion and not hit the passengers at full force which also works as a protective shield in case of collisions.
CCPA is entrusted to protect, promote and enforce the rights of class of consumers. Therefore, CCPA took cognizance of the issue of the sale of car seatbelt alarm stopper clips and with its eagle eye found that said clips were being blatantly sold on several e-commerce platforms in an easy-to-access manner resulting in direct violation of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and pose a high risk to the valuable life of the consumers. It was also found during the proceedings that some sellers were selling the clips by camouflaging them under the garb of bottle openers or cigarette lighter etc.
Taking into consideration the severity of the said product on the safety and precious life of consumers, CCPA referred the matter to DG Investigation (CCPA). Based on the recommendation in the Investigation Report and submissions made by e-commerce entities, CCPA has issued Directions to the e-commerce platforms where they were directed to permanently delist all car seatbelt alarm stopper clips and associated motor vehicle components which compromise the safety of passengers and the public. They were also directed to apprise CCPA of the steps taken against errant sellers of such products and submit details of the sellers along with a compliance report on the above directions.
Taking note of the Directions issued by CCPA, Compliance Reports were submitted by all five e-commerce entities. Based on the initiative of the CCPA, approximately 13,118 listings of car seatbelt alarm stopper clips have been delisted from the e-commerce platforms.