The government has decided to streamline the law to protect the interests of the growing number of online shoppers and service seekers.
Consumer forums have delivered contradictory judgments on the issue of jurisdiction of the complaint - place of delivery or registered office of the online-shopping company. Another area of concern is the fact that online services are not defined clearly under the Consumer Protection Act-1986.
The government had assured a parliamentary standing committee that adequate safeguards would be incorporated in the law to redress the issues related to online shopping - which has more than doubled in the last one year.
A Consumer Affairs ministry official said the amended law would make it clear that the jurisdiction of the complaint is the consumer's home, where the financial transaction takes place and the goods are delivered.
Consumers would also find a way to redress incidents of petty cheating they may face from an online service provider without having to opt for a lengthy legal process, besides a facility to file online complaints with district consumer forums.
Long-drawn pendency of petty cases is an especially big problem in consumer forums across Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
The parliamentary committee has asked the ministry to expedite the proposal and make necessary amendments in the Consumer Protection Act to lessen the burden on consumer forums, and ensure that complaints are disposed of within the mandatory 90 days of their acceptance.
A ministerial proposal in this regard has been accepted by the plan panel for incorporation in the 12th Five-Year Plan.