In view of violation of Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued orders against top five e-commerce platforms for selling car seat belt alarm stopper clips. The clips compromise life and safety of consumer by stopping alarm beep when not wearing seat belts.
Headed by Chief Commissioner, Mrs. Nidhi Khare, CCPA passed orders against Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Shopclues and Meeshofor violation of consumer rights and unfair trade practice.
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 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 / 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.
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. 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 seat belt 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 seat belt 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, approximately13,118 listings of car seat belt alarm stopper clips have been delisted from the e-commerce platforms.The details of the delistings are:
|S.No.||Name of E-commerce Company||Delistings
(Numbers as per the submissions made by companies)
The action taken in the present cases assumes significance given that as per the latest report published by the MoRTH more than 16,000 persons were killed in road accidents in 2021 due to not wearing seat belt, of which 8,438 were drivers and the remaining 7,959 were passengers. Moreover, approximately 39,231 persons were injured out of which 16,416 were drivers and 22,818 were passengers. The report further provides that young adults in the age group of 18-45 accounted for more than one-third of victims in road accident cases.
CCPA is working round the clock to promote and safeguard the rights of class of consumers in every nook and corner of the Country, in this regard, CCPA has written letters to the Chief Secretaries and District Collectors requesting them to take appropriate action as per law, against the manufacture or sale of car seat belt alarm stopper clips to prevent loss of life or severe injury to consumers. CCPA has also requested to submit an action taken report to protect the valuable life of the consumers.
To prevent the valuable loss to life of the public at large, CCPA has issued an Advisory among the stakeholder which includes Secretary of MoRT&H and DPIIT, Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories. E-Commerce Entities, Industry Associations and Voluntary Consumer Organizations for wide dissemination to desist from manufacture or sale or listings of Car Seat Belt Alarm Stoppers.