Government bans use of ‘dark pattern’ on e-commerce platforms, issues guidelines

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The government has banned the use of ‘dark patterns’ on e-commerce platforms to protect the interests of consumers.

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The government has taken this decision to stop companies or businessmen trying to cheat customers or influence their choices through dark patterns. The Central Protection Consumer Authority (CCPA) has issued a guideline in this regard on November 30, named “Guideline for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Pattern”.

What is there in this new guideline?

This guideline is also applicable to all platforms, advertisers and sellers offering goods and services in India. According to the new guidelines, resorting to dark patterns will be a violation of consumer rights. This will be considered as misleading advertising or unfair trade practice. For doing so, fine will be imposed as per the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act.

Statement of Consumer Affairs Secretary

“As e-commerce grows, dark patterns are increasingly being used by platforms to mislead consumers by manipulating their purchasing choices and behaviour,” Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said.

He said the guidelines will bring clarity to all stakeholders – buyers, sellers, markets and regulators on what is wrong in the form of unfair trade practices. Those who violate these will be held responsible under the Consumer Protection Act.

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