India’s largest online retailer Flipkart allegedly sold counterfeit products to a customer thrice through different vendors within a total period of almost half a year.
Dr Satinder Singh, the customer, claims to possess correspondence with Flipkart going back months, where he has highlighted the discrepancies in his orders.
The customer’s mail dated 26th August gives out the details of all three orders,
Order No. OD102474916988xxxxxx. Order Date: 01-04-2015. Fake product as certified by Hindustan Unilever Limited
Order No. OD003323630026xxxxxx. Order Date: 09-07-2015. Fake product, exactly resembling last one with respect to grammatical errors and physical appearance. I still possess that product. Kept it intact/as such and have not opened it.
Order No. OD303698117359xxxxxx. Received today. Fake product, exactly resembling last two with respect to grammatical errors and physical appearance/Packaging. No embossing No RC number.
I am pleased to inform you that you’ve scaled hat-trick of selling fake counterfeit Lakme Eyeconic Kajal to the same customer thrice; despite being cautioned during two earlier occasions.
It seems that Flipkart is of the notion that we are legally very sound & even if we keep assisting sales of fake products; nothing will happen to us & we can escape legal clutches. You can always evade legal action by saying that Flipkart is a platform connecting buyers with sellers, it’s a bipartite agreement & they are not at all involved, it’s between buyer & seller or whatsoever; but Hello... You can atleast be held accountable for assisting sale of dubious products despite being cautioned/warned about it.
— From the customer’s email to Flipkart
A similar incident occurred in April this year when a customer threatened to take Flipkart to court over a fake JBL wireless speaker sold through the e-retailer.
In May, it was reported by Economic Times that Mumbai-based saree distributor Shree Meena Creations was dragging Flipkart and others to court, accusing them of selling replicas of its copyrighted sarees.
We got in touch with Flipkart seeking a response on the complaints, here’s what they had to say.
Flipkart is a digital marketplace that helps sellers connect with customers across the country. Each and everyone of our 50,000+ sellers are mandated to adhere to stringent guidelines. Any exception to, or violation of this code of conduct is taken very seriously. We enforce a strict policy of zero tolerance against unscrupulous sellers who sell products that are fake, stolen, or in violation of any applicable law of the land. In all three cases highlighted by the customer, we have thoroughly investigated and blacklisted the offending sellers.
We have also worked out a regular process to scanning products on our platform to ensure that any instances of fake or spurious products are detected quickly, delisted and appropriate action is taken against the sellers. We have enlisted Flipkart employees and engaged a reputed third party (risk/forensics practice of one of the big 4 consultancies) to play the role of mystery shopper. These mystery shoppers buy from the marketplace regularly and report back on the entire shopping experience. The whole experience is documented with pictures of labels, packaging and the product. Any inconsistencies are flagged off and depending on the severity of the situation, actions are initiated against the seller. Flipkart is also working on a product that will ensure a long term fix to issues such as this.
— Spokesperson, Flipkart