Consumer protection regulator CCPA has directed 5 e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart to permanently remove all car seat belt alarm stopper clips as the product stops the alarm from beeping when the seat belt is not in use, endangering the safety of passengers.
After an investigation into the matter, CCPA directed Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Shopclues and Meesho to "permanently" remove all car stopper belt clips from car safety and associated auto components that threaten the safety of occupants and the public.
As a result, 13,118 seat belt alarm stop clips were removed from the five e-commerce platforms. While Amazon removed 8,095 of these clips, the regulator said in a statement, Flipkart 4000-5000, Meesho 21, Snapdeal and Shopclues removed one each.
It said the CCPA had approved arrest warrants against five e-commerce players for consumer rights violations and unfair business practices under the 2019 Consumer Protection Act.
The CCPA said it became aware of the issue with the sale of seat belt alarm stop clips and "found that such clips were blatantly sold on various e-commerce platforms in an accessible manner, resulting in a direct violation" of consumer protections. Law” 2019 and pose a significant risk to the valuable lives of consumers.”
It added that during the process it was discovered that some vendors were selling the clips under the guise of bottle openers, cigarette lighters, etc.
The regulator further said that the use of car seat belt alarm stop clips may also be an impediment for consumers seeking to claim amounts in auto insurance policy cases, as the insurance company may deny the claim citing the plaintiff's negligence in using such clips.
On the other hand, the use of the seat belt as a restraint allows the airbag to provide adequate cushioning and not hit passengers at full force, which also acts as a protective shield in the event of a collision.
Regardless, the Consumer Privacy Protection Act has written letters to chief clerks and county collectors asking them to take appropriate action under the law against the manufacture or sale of such clips to prevent loss of life or serious injury to consumers.
The regulator has also issued a notice to e-commerce entities, industry associations and voluntary consumer bodies to ensure that these products are not manufactured and sold on the market.
The CCPA investigated the matter after a letter from the Ministry of Road Transportation and Highways (MoRTH) pointed out the problem of blatant selling of such clips and called for action against fraudulent sellers/online platforms.
The Department of Human Resources and National Heritage said that Rule 138 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules of 1989 mandated the use of seat belts. However, online sales of such items that endanger the safety of passengers by turning off the alarm when they are not wearing seat belts may be unsafe and dangerous to the life and safety of consumers.
The procedure in these cases is important considering that according to the latest report published by the Ministry of Human Resources and National Heritage, more than 16,000 people died in traffic accidents in 2021 for not wearing seat belts, of which 8,438 were drivers and the remaining 7,959 were passengers.
In addition, approximately 39,231 people were injured, including 16,416 drivers and 22,818 passengers. The report added that people in the age group of 18-45 account for more than a third of the victims in traffic accidents.
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