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Friday, June 14, 2024

Government Bans Use of ‘Dark Patterns’ on E-commerce Platforms to Protect Consumer Interest

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Government Bans “Dark Patterns” on E-commerce Platforms

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued guidelines banning the use of “dark patterns” on e-commerce platforms, aimed at protecting consumers’ interests. The move is applicable to all platforms offering goods and services in India, as well as advertisers and sellers. Any violation of these guidelines will result in penalties as per the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act.

What are Dark Patterns?

The government defines dark patterns as any deceptive design pattern using user interface or user experience interactions on any e-commerce platform. These are intended to mislead or trick users into doing something they did not originally intend or want to do, impairing consumer autonomy or decision-making. The notified guidelines define 13 deceptive practices that will be treated as ‘dark patterns’, including false urgency, basket sneaking, and forced action.

Impact of Dark Patterns

False urgency creates an artificial sense of scarcity, pressuring users to make a purchase. Basket sneaking includes adding additional items at checkout without the user’s consent, increasing the total amount payable. Forced action requires users to take an action that would result in buying additional goods, subscribing to unrelated services, or sharing personal information in order to make the intended purchase.

Penalties for Violations

Platforms, sellers, and advertisers found resorting to dark patterns will face penalties as per the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. These guidelines will ensure clarity for all stakeholders, including buyers, sellers, marketplaces, and regulators, regarding what practices are considered unacceptable under the Consumer Protection Act.

FAQs

What is the impact of dark patterns?

Dark patterns can create an artificial sense of urgency, increase the total amount payable, and manipulate users into taking actions that they did not originally intend or want to do.

What are the penalties for violations?

Platforms, sellers, and advertisers found resorting to dark patterns will face penalties as per the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, ensuring clarity for all stakeholders.

Conclusion

The implementation of these guidelines will protect consumers from misleading advertisements, unfair trade practices, and violations of consumer rights on e-commerce platforms in India.


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