Fraudulent buyers menace refuses to die down in Indian ecommerce. In December last year, Flipkart got two fraud buyers arrested. It is now the turn of Amazon India to do the same.
A woman named Deepanwita Ghosh scammed Amazon and managed to extract approximately Rs. 70 lakh. The resident of Horamavu Agara, Bengaluru misused the etailer’s return policy by replacing original products with cheap knock-offs and getting a refund. She then went ahead and sold the original products on other portals.
Ajay Hilori, deputy commissioner of police, Bengaluru said, “Every time, the delivery address was different from the C-return address, which was often in other cities. After getting a repayment from Amazon to her bank account, Deepanwita would replace the product with a substandard one and hand over the package to the delivery person.”
Amazon registered the complaint against Ghosh in April. According to the report, the fraudster used fake names and placed orders for 104 items including SLR cameras, expensive mobile phones, and television sets. Post-delivery of the order, she used to place return requests and claim a refund.
Isn’t this pretty much what sellers have been saying all along?
Sellers have been talking about fake buyers and returns for long. IOS has published several articles on fraudulent buyers and how it is eating into vendors’ business. But the ecommerce biggies have failed to protect or compensate sellers.
It took 104 orders for Amazon to figure out the con scheme designed by Ghosh. And the marketplace would be able to get its money back, now that the buyer is arrested. But what about the sellers of these 104 items who not only had to refund the money but also got fake products in return?
One good thing to come out of this scam is that Amazon has decided to alter its return policy, at least for mobile phones category.
A company official disclosed, “Now, products like cellphones are received from customers only after verifying IMEI numbers and other items following corroboration of unique product codes apart from a thorough inspection. An acknowledgement with the customer’s signature is also obtained at the time of return of expensive items.”
Sellers ready to take Snapdeal to court
Needless to say, sellers are frustrated with online marketplaces’ lax attitude. Be it delayed payments or fake returns, vendors are running out of patience and are willing to take the legal route to get their dues.
A seller from Bengaluru, Rajat Gupta has filed a complaint against Snapdeal for not clearing his dues amounting to Rs. 67 lakh.
“We have many meetings including personal meetings with them to clear our dues, but there is no response. Now, I’ve some information that, the company has lost all of our accounts. They owe Rs 67 lakh to my company. And now Snapdeal is saying they would pay at max Rs 10 lakh instead of Rs 67 lakh. As per agreement Snapdeal should keep our account with them for 8 years, but as per my knowledge, they have sold all our accounts. So I had no other choice than to register a complaint to the Commissioner of Police Delhi,” said Gupta.
Following his complaint, many sellers have come out in front and are looking to register their individual complaints as well. Vendors lobby groups like AIOVA and E-Commerce Sellers Association of India (ECSAI) have been following up with Snapdeal and Flipkart regarding sellers’ issues. Kunal Bahl, Snapdeal’s co-founder had even agreed to meet the sellers. But looks like, sellers’ fight is far from over.