LocalCircles survey found that half of the consumers are unable to figure out the retail price as well as the best before the date of packaged products sold on newer e-commerce sites and apps such as Meesho, Shopee, and Swiggy. To make online shopping easier for consumers, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs introduced Packaged Commodity Rules (PCR) 2017, amendment on January 1, 2018. This made it mandatory for all e-commerce sites and apps in India to display all MRPs for packaged goods available for sale.
In addition, the PCR 2017 amendment stipulated that all human consumption packaged products must be displayed on eCommerce sites and apps with best-before dates. LocalCircles received many consumer complaints. It shows that older eCommerce platforms like Grofers, Snapdeal, Flipkart, etc obey the rule of displaying MRP for all products. However, consumers can only see a price and not the MRP on newer platforms such as Swiggy Instamart and Shopee. According to the study conducted in 2018 by LocalCircles, 22% of consumers were able to find MRPs.
In 2021, this percentage increased to 35%. However, despite some improvements in packaged products, MRP has displayed compliance on e-commerce sites/apps in the last 3 years, some platforms and sellers continue to fail to display this information. In consumer surveys, Meesho is cited as an example of a platform that does not display the best before date on packaged products for human consumption. Consumers from 345 districts of India responded to the survey, with 64% men and 34% women.
LocalCircles said that to enforce the law, the Legal Metrology Division of the Department of Consumer Affairs must take action immediately against non-compliant platforms and sellers. E-commerce has become mainstream in the past few years, and thousands of millions of consumers across the country make their purchases through this channel, making it important to provide them with accurate and complete information before they make their purchase.