October 29, 2020

Online sellers seek tighter e-commerce norms

An online sellers community has sent another letter addressed to the country’s commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman, which was reviewed by TOI, asking for tighter e-commerce regulations to be framed to help safeguard the interest of merchants selling on these platforms.
The All India Online Vendor Association (AIOVA), which comprises about 2000 sellers, has asked for the minister’s immediate help saying, ” Marketplaces are making one-sided policies without discussing with seller associations, or getting it approved by government bodies. Absence of a prudent system is leading to unjustified financial losses and misuse of power,” the email sent to Sitharaman said.
AIOVA has been using social media channels like Twitter to highlight issues at Snapdeal, and previous problems it has faced with Askmebazaar and Best Deal TV, promoted by Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty Kundra, which the body claims have defaulted on their payments to sellers.
TOI reported in its February 23 edition that AIOVA had reached out to the minister saying about Rs 300-400 crore could be stuck with Snapdeal as troubles grow within the company and fears of cash running out spread. In the latest communication to Sitharaman, a group of sellers from Hyderabad, through AIOVA, claimed unethical practices being used by the e-tailer.
Among the complaints made, these sellers have told the minister that Snapdeal cancelled multiple orders after shipping it as it helped the marketplace charge 35% of product value as penalty to the seller. The communication also alleges with documents attached that Snapdeal provides very little value for damaged products resulting in losses for these sellers.
When contacted, a Snapdeal spokesperson refuted these claims made by the online seller group. “All business dealings with sellers are conducted within the framework of signed contracts with clearly defined scope of work, charges and payment terms. All payments continue to be made as per contractually defined payments cycle with no delays. Any speculation with regard to delay in payments to sellers is incorrect and baseless.”
According to an AIOVA spokesperson, the seller group made multiple attempts to reach out to the founder and CEO of Snapdeal, Kunal Bahl along with other executives looking after the seller ecosystem of Snapdeal, but weren’t able to get a response.