The ministry of consumer affairs has registered the highest number of complaints on its national helpline against homegrown ecommerce giant Flipkart in the financial year 2020. The helpline also noted a high number of complaints against another homegrown brand Reliance Jio and global ecommerce giant Amazon.
A report by ET stated that out of almost six lakh complaints registered, one lakh was against ecommerce companies. The data further revealed that one of every five complaints were against an ecommerce platform.
A ministry official told the media house that a lot of users end up getting “bricks” or “stones” in a packet instead of the phones they’ve ordered. Other reasons for the complaints are counterfeit products, problems in exchange and delayed delivery.
Both Amazon and Flipkart said that they have been working with the government to solve the grievances of the customers and are improving their programme to resolve issues promptly.
Amazon told Inc42, “ We are committed to resolving all customer concerns expeditiously, including those received through the Ministry of Customer Affairs.”
Whereas, Flipkart added “we endeavour to guide our new customers on how to navigate the Flipkart app, policies and terms and conditions. We also undertake several consumer education programs that focus on driving awareness on safe e-commerce transactions.”
This year, the ministry has noted a 40-50% increase in the number of complaints against ecommerce platforms due to the rise in consumer base, the official clarified, according to the report.
Are Ecommerces The Only Culprits?
Besides ecommerce, other companies that made to the list include banks and telecom services. The ministry data shows that 41,600 complaints were registered against banks and 29,400 complaints were against Telecom services. The most common grievances against telecom network were noted to be overbilling, data deduction and connectivity problems.
Overall, the minister of ecommerce noted the second-highest number of complaints against the recent entrant Reliance Jio.
Inc42 has reached out to Reliance Jio. The story will be updated when and if they reply.
What Is Consumer Affair Ministry Doing?
Looking at the high number of complaints, the ministry of consumer affairs has also set up the consumer redressal app last month, which allowed users to file complaints against any company across segments. The ministry has also ensured the complaints received are forwarded to the companies for resolution within 60 days.
Taking note of the increasing dissent for ecommerce, the ministry of consumer affairs also released a new draft policy Consumer Protection (e-Commerce) Rules 2019 on November 11. The policy is aimed to prevent fraud, unfair trade practices and protect the rights and interests of consumers.
Now, ecommerce platforms will have to provide the contact details of grievance officers and inform the customers about the complaints filing mechanism. In addition, ecommerce companies will also have to upload the contract with the sellers on the website to make users aware of the details about returns, refunds, exchange offers, warranty plans, delivery, grievance redressal mechanisms and more.
Other directions are aimed at curbing deep discounting, influencing the market price and selling counterfeit products.
The ministry has also highlighted that all the companies — ecommerce, banks and telecom — are cooperating. Like last year, the ministry of consumer affairs managed to solve 5.55 Lakh complaints, out of the 5.65 lakh received. The government has assured that it is on track to do the same this financial year, ending in March 2020.
Update: November 17, 2019 | 1:28 PM
Added Amazon’s statement
Update: November 18, 2019 | 6:42 PM
Added Flipkart’s statement