Change is the only constant thing in life and online marketplaces have adopted this as their ecommerce mantra. Etailers keep changing their policies so often that sellers are no longer ready to stand this injustice.
Latest policy update from Flipkart
As of Thursday, Flipkart introduced new changes to its policy concerning weight issues. The online retail platform notified its sellers via email asking sellers to claim weight reversal charges within 30 days from date of settlement.
The email to sellers read, “There is an important policy update with respect to weight reversal charges. Effective from 23rd June 2016, any dispute on incorrect weight amount charged by our logistics partner must be raised within 30 days of the settlement date. After the above mentioned 30 days period, Flipkart will not consider any dispute related to weights.”
IOS spoke with AIOVA, to know whether this 30 day time frame was sufficient for online sellers.
A spokesperson from the association said, “30 days is certainly not enough, especially when the marketplace takes 6 months and even more to reimburse our money. If sellers need to meet a time limit, why shouldn’t the marketplace? We don’t even receive interest on the delayed payments owed to us.”
Reason for weight related issues
The spokesperson also mentioned the main reason for weight related issues is the lack of clarity on local, zonal and national pricing and the amount charged according to the weight as per location.
He said, “The marketplace does not specify which areas in the country are local, zonal or national. Every time we speak to Flipkart seller support or Flipkart product managers about this they each have different answers about which regions in the country are local, zonal and national according to the seller’s location.”
“If the marketplace itself doesn’t know this information, how are we supposed to figure it out in 30 days? Give us a rule book so we know what we have to pay,” he further stated.
Other changes introduced by Marketplaces
Flipkart isn’t the only one changing weight policies. Snapdeal also added changes to its weight policy by revising charges. Continuous fluctuation in weight charges are impossible to cope with and are a constant hassle for online sellers.
Snapdeal also introduced a new form of capital assistance where sellers can acquire early payments. The marketplace said this will help online sellers with easy cash flow. However, AIOVA questioned the etailer’s source of finance and whether it is legitimate.
At the start of this week we saw online sellers participate in an online dharna that involved stock outs on Flipkart. The lack of desired response from the marketplace forced the protesting sellers to raise their prices by at least 20-25% to avoid making losses.
eSellerSuraksha president, Sanjay Thakur said this is the second phase of the dharna. The high prices on Flipkart are bound to drive buyers away in his opinion. However the marketplace claims otherwise.
A Flipkart spokesperson officially stated, “The number of active listings from our sellers as well as number of units sold has increased this week. We have received a positive response to our new policy from an overwhelming majority of our 90,000 sellers. We are confident that the new policy will not only help sellers to boost their business but also empower them to improve on quality and grow a loyal base of customers in the long run. We are working closely with our sellers to ensure a smooth transition.”
Amazon also changed its commission structure like Flipkart. Some may say it is to take advantage of the discontent Flipkart is creating among its sellers. Online sellers had no real complaints about the decrease in the online marketplace’s commissions. This could quite possibly mean they approve of this change.
Need for government intervention?
“There are no laws or persons from the government to look into these policy and that is why marketplaces are making policies that suit their own benefit,” said AIOVA’s spokesperson.
Continuous changes that cause discrepancies in reconciliation, giant accounting headaches and not to forget loss of income are not what online sellers signed up for. Clarity and a reasonable amount of time would help online sellers to raise questions or doubts and adhere to new policies.