At a time when the Centre is working on rolling out an ecommerce policy and a think tank is already in place, a case of fraud and theft perpetrated jointly by a current employee of Amazon India and a former delivery boy has come to the fore.
Reports have surfaced that an Amazon employee and a former delivery executive were arrested for allegedly cheating the company and its customers. They would collect items scheduled for return before authorised personnel could pick up the product and steal them.
Police have said that the current Amazon India employee who was arrested would allegedly provide the accused with details of customers who wished to return their products.
An email query sent to Amazon India didn’t elicit any response till the time of publication.
How The Accused Cheated Customers & Amazon India
On July 21, a complaint was filed by Ambika Saraf, an authorised representative of the Amazon branch at Nehru Place, alleging that an imposter posing as a delivery executive had collected a camera that was scheduled for return from a customer named Gaganpreet Singh.
Anto Alphonse, deputy commissioner of police (Dwarka), said that the customer received a call from one Gaurav, who posed as a delivery boy, saying he would come to collect the camera.
At the same time, Amazon’s authorised delivery executive Jasvinder Singh also called Gaganpreet and came to collect the same camera. Following this, Gaurav was arrested when he came to collect the camera at Singh’s shop in Dwarka.
An investigation into the case revealed that Gaurav worked as an Amazon delivery executive between 2015 and February 2018 in the Lawrence Road area where a person named Raju Singh was his store manager. After quitting his job, Gaurav was jobless for a while and he hatched the idea for the fraud along with Raju.
Raju would pass him the details of customers who wished to return bought items and Gaurav would collect the article from the customers before the authorised delivery boy could arrive.
The DCP also said that on July 20, the accused allegedly cheated a customer named Sanjay Kumar Bansal, a resident of Dwarka, by collecting a mobile phone worth INR 36,000 that he wished to return to Amazon.
During interrogation, Gaurav revealed that he has cheated several customers this way and would sell stolen mobile phones and laptops in Gaffar market, New Delhi.
Gaurav and Raju would split the amount received from stolen articles, the police said.
Raju Singh was also arrested. Meanwhile, police are trying to recover the stolen mobiles and laptops.
When Ecommerce Companies Became The Target Of Frauds
There have been reported several instances of buyers and sellers trying to cheat ecommerce companies.
Recently, Flipkart filed a criminal complaint against one of its employees and its major supplier MRPL making allegations of cheating, fraud, forgery, and breach of trust.
At the time, it was also reported that the fraud extended to other expenses incurred like excise, customs, and taxes, which were paid by Flipkart. Further, the Flipkart employee had also allegedly falsified bills, invoices, and other accounting documents to cover up the fraud.
Prior to this, Flipkart filed a complaint which led to the arrest of four people from Telangana’s Warangal district for allegedly cheating the company Flipkart by ordering high-end mobile phones and then replacing them with fake ones and claiming refunds.
In December 2015, two former Amazon employees, Atul Sharma and Naveen Kumar, were arrested for trying to cheat Flipkart of over INR 50,000 by claiming that they had been sent stones instead of the ordered product.
In October 2015, a similar incident took place when Veera Swamy of Andhra Pradesh found a loophole in the return policy of Flipkart and tricked the company for over 20 months using its return policy, which resulted in the company losing over INR 20 Lakh.
With the ecommerce market set to hit $200 Bn by 2026, it is high time the national ecommerce policy is enforced to protect companies along with other stakeholders, mainly customers and sellers.
[The development was first reported by Financial Express.]
Update 1 (23 July, 5:08 pm IST) Post publishing this news we got following response from Amazon India spokesperson:
“As India’s most trusted online marketplace we have zero tolerance towards incidents of fraud. We thank the Delhi police for their investigation and support in solving the case swiftly. We look forward to continued partnership with the police and government authorities.”