Regulation of E-commerce portals and protection for online shoppers

We have been reading in papers and on internet media that Timtara’s founder-drector has been arrested, alongwith the CEO, on the charges of fraud and cheating. Most of the consumers who do online shopping must be aware of allegations against Timtara. The complaints varied from non-delivery, delayed deliver and non-receipt of refunds. India Consumer Forum carreid two articles about the activities undertaken by Timtara ( and as the Forum had received as many as 185 complaints in a year’s time. As per our estimate in February 2013 and March 2013 alone the combined worth of complaints was approx INRS 3,50,000/-.

On 02-04-2013 this Forum received an anonymous and dubious legal notice for removing various complaints. It was received from equally doubtful set-up by the name Anti Cyber Harassment Foundation.

However, interestingly, the so called notice did not include information about the client’s name or any specific details. We had responded to their mail and had asked for client and specific complaint details which the sender was not willing to disclose. It is quite possible that this anonymous email relates to Timtara.

Do we have a lesson here? Yes, the Government of India should now wake up to the demand of setting up a regulatory body which will monitor the activities of e-commerce portals. There are countless e-commerce portals coming up in all parts of the country. If there is no statutory body to oversee their functions the gullible consumers will fall prey to the unscrupulous portals. There is also an immediate need to amend the Consumer Protection Act 1986 to include online shopping complaints without the limitation of jurisdiction. We have already dealt with in our article At the cost of repeating ourselves, we feel the government should either amend the existing CPA to expressly include good and services bought/availed online with procedure for filing complaints or pass a separate act something similar to Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations passed in UK.

On a happy note, we find Consume Fora are already handling online shopping complaints and introducing a regulatory body would be a welcome change.


    • yuktesh on 26/04/2014 at 11:38 am

    Useful article.

    • ICF on 28/04/2014 at 12:02 pm


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