Govt tells e-commerce platforms to check misleading offers on online shopping
The Department of Consumer Affairs called the meeting with leading e-commerce platforms to discuss the menace of “dark pattern” often seen during online transactions by customers, according to sources aware of the developments.
“Dark pattern” refers to misleading offers which are given to consumers during online shopping, that tend to trap them into fraudulent or loss-making deals.
Aiming to curb malpractices in online shopping like “dark pattern”, the government on Tuesday held deliberations with leading e-commerce entities like Amazon and Flipkart among others.
Offering an attractive deal to consumers through external links, which after clicking, doesn’t exist, is a common example of such “dark patterns” during online shopping.
Also on many occasions, customers are forced to buy an extra product along with the one they have selected to purchase, in return for free shipping, or while purchasing air tickets online, the hidden charges are not initially revealed but are included in the final cost, or luring customers into a deal by declaring that the offer is available only for a few minutes and forcing them to buy it at an exorbitant price, are some other examples of this malpractice.
Sources informed that e-commerce entities have been asked to practice self-regulation to ensure that such malpractices are curbed in future.
The department is learnt to have indicated to them during the meeting that if self-regulation fails to stop instances of “dark pattern”, then it may bring in strict regulations to curb it.
The meeting was held amid rising incidents of “dark pattern” during online purchases being brought to the Centre’s notice.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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