Trouble keeps brewing for Askme.com and Askmebazaar.com. The ecommerce company shutdown in August and blamed Astro Holdings, an investor, for its inability to repay its sellers. The two fought back and forth about this while sellers sat in despair and pondered when they would receive their much-awaited pay.
Some sellers went all the way to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to complain about pending payments from AskmeBazaar. Now, the Delhi court has ordered an FIR to be lodged against Askme.com and its online retail platform AskmeBazaar.
What grounds is the FIR based on?
A case of cheating and fraud was registered by the local police against Askme.com and AskmeBazaar upon directions from Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma. This was after allowing a complaint by a firm that it was cheated by the online retail portal.
The court went though with its directions based on initial reports filed by the authorities. In its order the court stated, “Facts disclose ex-facie commission of cognizable offenses and in the considered view of the court, field investigation by police is required in this case.”
Cheating and fraud under the guise of discounts!
While hearing a plea from Limo Trading Company, it was alleged that the directors and other officials at the ecommerce company offered hefty discounts while selling products. However, later at the time of payment, the profits from the discount sales were not transferred as agreed.
The complaint against the company also stated that its online portal charged a commission for each transaction irrespective of whether it was successful or not.
More promises but no remittance
The plaintiff alleged that once it enrolled on the portal, its international partners came to India and made promises to boost the quality and increase the visibility of comments on products they supplied. This was expected to boost sales on Askme.com and finally result in greater investments, the complainant mentioned.
Timely payments were assured after the usual transaction fee deduction. This gave sellers confidence to sell more on the portal. But the according to the complaint made in court, the supplying firm never received the money buyers paid for their products.
Askme along with its parent company Getit Stores ran multiple businesses like online grocery, online retail, an e-wallet, tele-information services, local searches, directories, classified media, and so on, the court took into account.
With sufficient primary evidence provided through the complaint, it was declared that the online business firm and its operations must face criminal investigation. And, it has asked the police for a detailed report about the same.
So, what does this mean for online sellers cheated by Askme? Are they closer to receiving justice? What about payment settlements? Will sellers receive the money they’ve been robbed of?