‘You are missing out on low prices’ or 'Hurry! Limited Stock!'– sounds familiar? Last minute price surges during flight bookings? Forced to make a quick purchase because several others have the same item simultaneously in their shopping carts?
Such attempts aimed at tricking consumers into taking prompt action against their intentions are considered dark patterns. Recently, the Central Consumer Protection Authority officially notified the Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns, 2023 under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, thereby, introducing a new aspect to the consumer protection framework in India in relation to advertising practices and digital platforms.
Dark patterns have been prevalent in India for a while. Through this article, INDUSLAW’s Namita Viswanath, Sana Khan, Aditya G. and Himangini Mishra analyse the implications of the Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns, 2023, and draw learnings from guidelines adopted in other jurisdictions to effectively curb dark patterns in India.