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Amazon, Flipkart among e-firms in trouble for selling seat belt alarm stoppers

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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 pose a risk to the life and safety of consumers by stopping alarm beep when not wearing seat belts.

The orders have been passed against Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Shopclues and Meesho for violation of consumer rights and committing unfair trade practices, CCPA said in a statement today.

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.

An investigation being carried out by the CCPA revealed that these 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.

CCPA then 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, the five e-commerce companies have submitted compliance reports and approximately13,118 listings of car seat belt alarm stopper clips have been delisted from the e-commerce platforms.The details of the delistings are:

While Amazon has done 8,095 delistings of seat belt alarm stopper clips while Flipkart has had to go for  4,000 to 5000 such delistings. The rest include Misho (21), Snapdeal (1) and Shopclues (1).

The action taken in the present cases assumes significance as official figures show that more than 16,000 persons were killed and 39,231 injured in road accidents in 2021 due to not wearing seat belts.

The issue pertaining to the sale of car seat belt alarm stopper clips by these e-commerce firms was brought to the CCPA’s notice by the Department of Consumer Affairs through the letter of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

The use of 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.