E-com firms under close watch in India

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Even when it is only about 8-9 per cent of India’s total trade, e-commerce companies are gaining prominence every passing day, said Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs…reports Asian Lite News

Almost 38-40 per cent complaints to the National Consumer Helpline (1519) were against the e-commerce companies last month, a top government official said on Monday.

“A powerful person in Delhi called me and said, I had ordered two chairs from Amazon and only one has been delivered. I have been complaining for three days but nobody is giving me a hearing,” Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, told a gathering to discuss such issues here.

Even when it is only about 8-9 per cent of India’s total trade, e-commerce companies are gaining prominence every passing day, he said, however, “Last month, almost 38-40 per cent complaints on the National Consumer Helpline (1519) were against the e-commerce companies.”

E-commerce is a faceless transaction as against the traditional business in which goods were purchased from the neighbourhood shops and such things as ordering two and getting delivery of only one chair would never happen with the traditional shopkeepers, he pointed out.

Stating that all commerce is being consolidated into chosen few big players. For example, e-commerce has two-three big names, taxi aggregators have two-three, food & beverage operators sector has two big players and if we look at telecom operators, there are just 3-4 big players, the Secretary said adding, “as this consolidation happens, these entities become more and more powerful and the power balance with the consumer is into limbo. It becomes imperative (for us) to stand strong with the consumer and the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions – national, states and district levels – should ensure that the consumer does not lose his right.”

Earlier, the Consumer Affairs Department had already issued notices to Ola/Uber taxi services and also to several restaurants in connection with service charges.

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