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The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued orders against top five e-commerce platforms -- Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Shopclues and Meesho -- for violation of consumer rights and unfair trade practice, for selling car seat belt alarm stopper clips.
The clips compromise life and safety of consumers by stopping alarm beeps when not wearing seat belts.
Headed by chief commissioner, Nidhi Khare, who is also the additional secretary in the consumer affairs department, CCPA, passed the orders against the above-mentioned entities, official sources said.
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 seat belt alarm stopper clips have been delisted from the e-commerce platforms.
In addition to this, the CCPA has also issued an advisory among the stakeholders, which includes secretaries in the ministry of road transport and department for promotion of industry and internal trade, as well as states' chief secretaries, e-commerce entities and industry associations, to desist from manufacture or sale or listings of car seat belt alarm stoppers.
Normally, when a car driver is not wearing the seat belt, a beep sound starts emanating along with the flashing of an icon on the dashboard panel, alerting the driver to wear the seat belt.
However, these online retailers were found to be selling car seat belt alarm stopper clips, which stop the beeping noise when the seat belt is not worn by drivers.
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 issued directions to the e-commerce platforms, where they were directed to permanently delist all car seat belt alarm stopper clips and associated motor vehicle components which compromise the safety of passengers and the public.
The issue of the sale of car seat belt alarm stopper clips came to the notice of CCPA by the department of consumer affairs through a letter of the ministry of road transport and highways, sources aware of developments said.
The road transport ministry highlighted the issue of blatant sale of car seat belt alarm stopper clips and requested the consumer affairs department for action on errant vendors and online platforms.
It also urged the consumer affairs department to issue an advisory on the matter, sources said.
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 and safety of consumers.
It is imperative to say that using car seat belt 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, sources said further.
On the other hand, using a 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.