[Seller speak] “Do marketplaces think we get free products from suppliers?”

Mayank

The marketplace model of business shot into fame and made its mark due to all the online sellers selling on the various platforms. But now that there are unpleasant changes in this important marketplace-seller equation, how does the online retail ecosystem get affected?

Online seller Mayank Goyal lets us in on his opinions on the equation and more, and we are quite sure many others feel the same.

So many problems for sellers..

.. But no solution in sight!

  • No one is making profits – Marketplaces already levy such heavy commission and logistics charges. With the added burden of product returns, we are operating on minimal margins.

  • Limitations on dispatch/order flow – Due to constraints on their end, order flow and order dispatches per day are limited. This means added delivery time and we know customers won’t wait for too long for their purchases.

  • Marketplace fulfillment is unreasonable – When we raise concern about the above, we are advised to join their fulfillment service but it has so many problems – higher charges, unjust penalties, withholding payments and stock, etc.

  • Too lenient Return policy – Sellers are completely sidelined and returns are accepted without any questions to customers.

  • No reconciliation statements – When they have details of sales and payments done by sellers, why not just give periodical reconciliation statements so sellers can tally their accounts? Even TDS amounts are not given on time.

  • Manipulation of account status – Without prior intimation or warning, our accounts are kept on hold, pending or blacklisted. They don’t accept the manual bills we provide which have TIN number, address and signatures. They insist on computerized bills when Sales Tax authorities want bill from binding book. Are they above government and sales tax authorities?

  • Fraud buyers on the rise – When unethical sellers increased, they started checking for genuine sellers. But now when fraud customers are increasing, they are not taking any rectification measures.

 Top 3 changes from marketplace for seller

  1. Fast payments – Marketplaces hold back on payments without valid reasons, which affects the operations of sellers.
  2. Approved returns process – Just to keep customers happy, marketplaces approve returns without checking with sellers about the condition of the returned products. Even if we raise claims for damage, they pay only a partial amount, which might not even cover the cost prices of the products.
  3. Turn Around Time (TAT) – Sometimes our orders are cancelled because marketplaces take time to respond to queries. It then becomes an SLA breach due to which auto-cancellations occur.

Worst portal is Snapdeal

  • They don’t make payments on time and always give the same reason, technical issue. But when they have to take amount from seller, eg. For sellers, they don’t seem to have this technical issue!
  • Catalog can go out of stock at any moment without prior notification to sellers.
  • Returns are accepted from customers without checking the products. If the product is wrong or damaged, seller has to raise dispute. It takes 2-3 payment cycles to get the issues resolved, if they do get resolved.
  • Irrelevant penalties are levied on sellers by manipulating their accounts, just so payments don’t have to be done.
  • Reconciliation statements are never provided, even if asked.

They have not paid us for the last 3-4 payment cycles. Maybe they have cash crunch, but is that our fault?

Worst policy ever for any seller ..

Flipkart’s SPF claim. Supposedly for the benefit of sellers, this is solely for the benefit of Flipkart. Most times, we get amounts that are below cost price and even in (-)! [Yes, you read it right.] Here’s one instance:

I shipped two sippers in the same package to a customer. She replaced with cheap ones and returned citing one as misshipment and the other as quality issue. I raised my concern in Seller Support with images and videos, and they realized the customer had cheated. When I raised SPF claim (invoice amount of Rs 920), they sanctioned Rs 324 on which marketplaces fee was charged and I ended up getting only Rs 144 for 2 products!

Does Flipkart think we get products for free from our suppliers? They want us to provide discounts, good packaging, competitive prices, quality products at reasonable prices. But dear “Bansals” we are not doing Samaj Seva!

Merchant undertaking in Paytm

According to Paytm’s Merchant Undertaking, they will take legal action if customer or sellers receives empty parcel. But question is, how will Paytm know who is the culprit? Answer, they will not bother checking!

Like others, Paytm also wants customers so they blindly believe what they say without checking with sellers first. Had the pickup person checked box when collecting from customer, there would be more clarity. But when that’s not being done, why should sellers face the heat and legal actions?

When it’s clear that customers are the culprits in the case of excessive returns, why should sellers still suffer?

We know that marketplaces are facing a funding crunch now because of which our payments are being withheld. Policies keep changing everyday and complaints take months to be resolved.

Suggestions/Advice to new sellers

  • Always give quality products to build goodwill with customers and to avoid returns.

  • Be conscious of payments and check transactions daily.

  • Avoid sending products to marketplace warehouses.

  • If you find a mistake, don’t hesitate in doing #jhand of these marketplaces.

Disclaimer: Thoughts/opinions mentioned in this article are solely of the seller.

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7 Comments

  1. Manoj Reply

    Flipkart’s SPF claim. is worst. Being a seller my experience.
    Flipkart not paying my approved SPF claim for 8 months. they says amount is approved.
    But every time they sing a song of technical problem, working on the issue, excuse me, regret for inconvenience, will do as soon as possible etc etc.

  2. Patel Reply

    Flipkart has worst policies ever. Our account got deactivated saying we are selling fake products. These foolish Bansals do not know the process of Trademark. It is process of 1.5 to 2 years then we can start write registered on the brand name.

    One day we received a mail saying that we are selling fake products and stated that your account will be on hold due to these reasons. We were asked to provide purchase invoice, brand authorisation letter or trademark certificate to prove that we are selling genuine products. We own a brand and applied for the trademark and all our products emobosed with the brand name on it. Still they think that we are selling fake products.

    I do not understand being a manufacturer of the product, how can we sell fake products. We explained that we applied for the trademark and it will be approved after 2 years as per the ministry guidelines still they ask for trademark certificate. Seriously illiterate people are hired at Flipkart. They do not know the legal process of Trademark.

    Interestingly, I checked the Flipkart status on the Ministry website of Industry and Commerce and intellectual rights. Their own name is objected by others so Flipkart cannot write registered on their name. Very funny. I have all screen shots but there is no option to upload here.

    Recently, their employee called in the morning that your account will be reactivated upon providing trademark documents and I call customer support in the next day and advised me that your account cannot be reactivated again. They have hired many jokers and it is a complete circus at Flipkart.

  3. Malik Reply

    We are a Leather goods brand – ADAMIS selling on a number of Marketplaces including Flipkart, Amazon, Ebay, Snapdeal, Jabong & Myntra.

    Out of all these, the most fair and just from the sellers point of view are Jabong and Myntra.

    At Amazon, we have had an inventory of Rs. 79,000 that is missing from their FBA warehouse. We have put up a claim for the missing inventory with all the proofs, to date we have received only Rs. 10,000 as reimbursement and the remaining amount claim is under “consideration” for the last 90 days since March 2016.

    Recently we are having a terrible time with Snapdeal, wherein the customers are ordering our high value leather products and the returns being sent back to us are cheap, used old products of different brands other than ADAMIS. Snapdeal seller help is not responsive to our complaints, they are refunding the payment to the customer, deducting the payment for the return from our account and to top it, they are also deducting a high Wrong / Faulty product fee from our account. This is completely unfair as we are not getting our original product back, having payment deducted and also being made to pay penalty charges for no fault of ours eventhough we have sent the perfect product to the customer always. The websites are completely favouring the customers, to the extent that they are turning a blind eye to the fraud / cheating customers and always deducting all kinds of payments and high penalty charges only from the sellers. We have had 3 cases on Ebay too, wherein the customer has called for our leather product and sent fake photos of used, old product of theirs saying that they have received it instead of our original product. Ebay has given them the refund without consulting us or giving us a chance to put our case. This to a seller who enjoys a 100% positive feedback score with them and selling with them for the last 4 years.

    In this whole ecommerce eco system, all the policies and systems are loaded completely against the sellers. This needs to change to make things fair for all. Currently it seems as if the marketplaces have a prejudice and pre conceived notion that all the faults and defects are the responsibility of the sellers. One very unfair rule at Snapdeal is in the return of the product. The customer is allowed 7 days to return the product if they do not want. The seller has to wait for a period of 60 days to receive the product from Snapdeal, before which he can not raise a dispute. The time durations are completely unfavourable to sellers. We have to stay without our own product and payment for 60 days after the customer has returned the product. Why so?

    At Snapdeal there is a major nexus at their delivery centre wherein we believe genuine products are being exchanged and either faulty , cheap products are being sent to the customer or sent to the sellers. Upon raising a dispute / query with their Seller help, the resolution is very erratic / random depending on the Seller help executive handling the case. Inspite of giving them all the documentary proof with photographs of the wrong product returns received by the seller, they are not willing to listen to the seller. They are deducting the full payment for the product as well as charging a penalty fee to the seller.

    In the present scenario, there is no relief for the seller, at the end of the day, sellers are only going to lose money after putting in all the efforts. With the high rate of returns, loss of products during returns and high penalty charges, there is hardly any profits to be made by sellers on online marketplaces.

  4. Sarthak Reply

    All these websites are going under cash crunch because they promote just returns they dont promote genuine sales. thats is why high returns. Also they charge sellers too much so seller have to charge a 250 rs product in at least 500 to get at most Rs. 300 inclusive of VAT/CST. how will seller survive in that

    • I AGREE WITH YOU SARTHAK FLIPKART Penalties AND charges incresing day by day we have increase rate to survive in the market we are not getting actual amount of product they deduct lot of money in settlement

  5. flipkart is putting fradulent claims and deducting payments after a years duration. i shipped one order in july 2015 and my payments got deducted in august 2016. After one year flipkart charges us. Moreover when we raise a query they asks for the proof of the same and 10 other documents when they have everything on their portal already.

  6. kamal Reply

    Amazon is not paying our claim. we send our material to amazon FBA store in last Oct.’15 to increase our sale,after six month our sale was nil so as per advice by a/c manager we apply for the removal in march. we made several request for removal but they dont have time to listen, finally we got our material. When we open the boxes, we found that all our garments r in a pathitic conditions and crushed condition. We immediately inform the a/c manager and send some images. Our a/c manager told us that this is the FBA issue i cant do anything. We raise this issue to Amazon seller centre and ask for the compensation for refinish and packing.Amazon deny to pay the claim and debit our a/c with FBA charges and removal charges. we send several mails,calls and ask help to a/c manager. Till dt our a/c is stuck in this episode. Now we dont know where we will go because they dont hv office in Delhi and no one is ready to listen.

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