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Photo ID necessary to buy acid online: consumer protection body

New Delhi: Buying acid from e-commerce platforms will no longer be easy with the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on Wednesday directing all online platforms to make it compulsory for buyers to upload a photo ID issued by the government.

The idea is to ensure that acid is not purchased by any individual below the age of 18 years, the government said in an official order.

Besides, the CCPA has directed e-commerce players to take separate undertaking from acid sellers prior to onboarding them at their platforms.

As per the order, online shopping platforms will now have to ensure the buyer discloses as part of the purchase process, the specific reason to procure acid.

CCPA, which is led by Chief Commissioner Nidhi Khare, has issued notices on Wednesday to all major e-commerce players after taking note of concerns around consumers’ and citizens’ safety from such unregulated sale of acid, an official statement issued by the authority said.

“All e-commerce platforms have been asked to immediately incorporate appropriate mechanism to ensure that acid is not purchased on their platforms in violation to the mandatory requirements of the rules notified by the respective state governments,” the statement said.

“A sale will be made only when the buyer produces a photo ID issued by the government having the address of person and proving that he/she is above 18 years of age,” the release said citing CCPA safety guidelines under Section 18(2)(j) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

CCPA, being the watchdog of consumer interest in India, has come across the sale of highly corrosive acids on e-commerce platforms. Availability of hazardous acids in such a freewheeling and easily accessible manner can be dangerous and unsafe for consumers and to public at large, it stated.

Consumer safety is among the preambular objectives of the Act as consumer rights defined under Section 2(9) of the law include the right to be protected against the marketing of goods, products or services which are hazardous to life and property.

The notices have been issued after it was observed that neither there is any requirement to produce photo ID nor there is any manner in which the purpose of buying the acid is recorded by the e-commerce platforms before placing an order, the ministry said.

“Further, there is no actual mechanism by which age verification of the buyer takes place before placing the order. Enabling the purchase of acid in such a manner on the e-commerce platform is a clear violation to directions of the Supreme Court of India and the ministry of home affairs advisory, it said.

Nov 29,2023

Source: Livemint