[Seller Interview] Jabong terminates sellers without reason; Is a no-questions marketplace cleanup fair?

Editor | Sep 09, 2020

Online retail can be a brutal industry. With everyone’s eyes dead set on profits, there is no room for weak sales. Just ask online seller Pankaj Vekariya from Aahwan Creation. The women’s ethnic and western wear seller says everything on Jabong, the online fashion portal, was going smooth until mid-April when he was notified his account would be terminated from the marketplace. Jabong is known for eliminating sellers with low sales by invoking clause 18.3 of their seller agreement.

Pankaj says, “As per the mail from Jabong seller care on 17th April 2017, they are closing our account and they are not giving proper reason for that.”

The seller received the following email from the etailer:

In the above email, the etailer refers to clause 18.3 of the seller agreement and offers the online seller a 30-day notice but no reason as to why the account termination occurred.

What is clause 18.3 of Jabong’s Seller Agreement?

Pankaj revealed that this clause in Jabong’s seller agreement states that –

“Intermediary (i.e. Jabong) can terminate the agreement for any reason whatsoever by providing an advance notice of 30 (thirty) days.”

This means that sellers are not entitled to any response. This makes it difficult for them to know their mistakes and grow. Also, once an account termination letter is sent, the seller has no second chance or means of redeeming himself. This is even if it might have been no fault of his own.

However, once he was notified about his account termination, Pankaj immediately wrote to Jabong to know what called for such a drastic measure. He received the following response a day later:

To this Pankaj pointed out that for March 2017 he couldn’t meet the revenue target set. He mentioned that his monthly sales on Jabong were around Rs.2.5 lakh which were above the sales target at the time. During the month of March, the seller could not meet the Rs.2 lakh target. And, this was mainly due to the delisting of his brand for 10 days since their product images were copied from other brands. However, the issue was resolved by Pankaj and his team.

Until now, he has received no satisfactory answer as to what the problem was from his end. Be it while speaking with Jabong executives over the phone or via email. Pankaj plans to inform as many Jabong sellers as possible about his experience on the platform to help them avoid the trouble he is going through at the moment. Here is an account of the unexpected twist in his online retail journey on Jabong:

The story before termination notice

Pankaj always wanted to get into business through the textile industry. After his graduation, a relative suggested selling online since ecommerce was booming. Pankaj though the idea was simply perfect. That was three years ago when he first started selling women’s clothing on Craftsvilla.

Since then he has expanded his business from the ethnic retail website to Amazon, Jabong, Snapdeal, Paytm, Shopclues, Redif and Mirraw.

IOS: What led you to sell on Jabong?

Pankaj: Jabong is one of the quality product selling marketplaces and they have a customer base which purchases high range products. The average price of my products is around Rs.1299. I had 105 products listed on Jabong but they are now deactivated as per the termination mail received.

IOS: What was it like selling on Jabong before the termination email?

    Pankaj: Actually, I had a very good experience with Jabong because it made doing business very easy. Apart from that as a new seller on the platform, since November last year, I enjoyed –

    • Fast payment
    • No hidden charges
    • No defective/used returns
    • Seller friendly policy

    But, now none of their executives are willing to provide a proper answer over the telephone and email.

    IOS: What soured your selling experience on Jabong?

    Pankaj: Our monthly selling on Jabong is around Rs.2.5 lakh and we couldn’t fulfil the target of min Rs.2 lakh sales per month in March because our brand was delisted for 10 days due to image related issues, which were solved soon.

    In spite of informing the online marketplace about this, Pankaj received no response about his account termination.

    After receipt of termination notice

    IOS: Can you still operate your seller account on Jabong?

    Pankaj: Yes, I can operate my seller account but after deactivation, I haven’t received any sales.

    Currently, Jabong has put limitations on us so we can’t update price or quantity of any product because of this we have huge losses as we can’t offer discount on MRP so we are not getting proper sales. Most of our products were added after deleting our permissions and we can’t stock out any product so we must bear the burden of huge penalties if we get orders for that stocked out product.

    Jabong also took around 25 days to make our products live which were hot sellers. It was not the first time this kind of thing happened on Jabong with regards to QC checks. They always took too much time and in the end we are made responsible for delays.

    IOS: Jabong set a new target for you of Rs. 4 lakhs, in April. Was it impossible to meet? Could this have been why your account is being terminated?

    Pankaj shared the following email with us:

    Pankaj: I didn’t meet with target worth Rs.4 lakhs in April. No, this wasn’t an impossible goal set. I had around more than 40 new products to meet this goal. My products were live but after restriction. So, I couldn’t offer discounts on them and I didn’t get any order from my new products as their prices were high.

    But, I don’t think that this could be the result of my account termination as I was performing well.

    IOS: What were the other issues with Jabong?

    Pankaj:  1. QC delays

    I have no clue why there were delays to make my products live. There was no proper reverts received from Jabong’s QC department and there were delays every time I uploaded a product. They would also not revert once products were rejected after a QC. This delayed the correction process for those products.

    2. Return delays

    Customer returns of November to January 2017 were returned to me during the end of February and start of March which is almost more than 90 days. (That is longer than the Jabong return policy states).

    3. Dues on hold

    We will now get payout only after 30th June*. So, we get payout after 80 days, which will again be a burden on us, since our money is on hold.

    * Jabong is undergoing a seller level curation for brands and SKUs… the overall performance notified decision has been taken and final settlement will be done post 30th June.

    IOS: Do you see a solution to these issues?

    Pankaj: No, I don’t see any solution to these issues as no one from Jabong is replying or receiving calls. We just get the same lines in every revert.

    IOS: Are you solely dependent on sales from Jabong?

    Pankaj: Our sales on each and every marketplace are equal. So, we are not dependent on any single marketplace. I only sell online now, but I am considering starting an offline store.

    IOS: What is your message to other Jabong sellers?

    Pankaj: I would recommend other sellers to sell their products on Jabong. But,

    • Make sure you have good quality products
    • Do not depend only on Jabong as they can terminate your seller account anytime

    IOS:  Do you plan on opening a new seller account with Jabong?

    No, we do not have any plans of opening a new seller account. As per latest talks with Shail Jha from Jabong, my account can be relisted, possibly post JIT-migration. If this is possible, we will certainly continue selling with Jabong. This is because of their clear policies and quick payment.  It’s just that we haven’t received a solid reason why our account is being terminated. And, as we stated the QC delays are beyond our control.

    Does this mean Jabong has a hidden agenda for giving sellers the boot? Or is there an error in the company’s seller rating system? According to sources, Jabong is moving back to its JIT model that is based on purchase orders received for a determined duration. Could this be causing seller account terminations? These are questions only Jabong can answer but chooses to be tight-lipped about.

    Have you faced a similar scenario with Jabong? How did you handle the issue, is there a way around it? Do share your opinions in the comments section.

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