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New Delhi: A Rs 2,199 watch available for Rs 247. An air purifier worth Rs 32,995 for Rs 23,999. Branded shoes at 60-80 per cent off, and an inverter worth Rs 9,995 at Rs 4,499. The Diwali sales offered by e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart draw thousands of breathless customers looking to score sweet deals on a whole range of essentials as well as indulgences. 

The same deals have now brought the companies under the government’s scanner over alleged “predatory pricing”, a controversial business practice where a player offers massive discounts to mitigate competition.

Last week, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal assured action against Amazon and Flipkart if the two companies are found guilty of the practice. The two companies have reportedly notched up sales of over $3 billion in their festive sales this month. 

According to reports, the government has sent detailed questionnaires to both e-commerce platforms, which are owned by Americans. 

“E-commerce companies have no right to offer discounts or adopt predatory prices. Selling products cheaper and resulting the retail sector to incur losses is not allowed,” Goyal was quoted as saying. 

While the government awaits their response, ThePrint explains the laws the websites may have flouted with the discounts. 


Also Read: Fashion, lifestyle and electronic items expected to vanish from Amazon & Flipkart


What is predatory pricing?

While Amazon is a US-based company, Flipkart, founded by Indians, is majority-owned by American giant Walmart. 

Both follow the marketplace model of e-commerce, which means they connect sellers and buyers instead of selling their own wares. This is the only type of e-commerce where foreign investment is allowed in India. 

Under FDI rules that kicked in this February, they are also barred from striking contracts with private companies for exclusive sales of certain items, for example, the OnePlus-Amazon partnership, and offering discounts.

Even so, Flipkart and Amazon, apart from other e-commerce portals, have often been accused of indulging in predatory pricing owing to the deep discounts they offer.

Before the new FDI rules took effect, these platforms were accused of buying products in bulk from manufacturers at heavy discounts, and then selling them at lower costs to entities where they had a stake. These entities would then reportedly sell these products on the e-commerce platforms at lower costs. 

Costs were allegedly brought down further by waiving the delivery fee and via cashbacks, often on their own payment portals like Amazon Pay. 

Since such practices are seen as inimical to the functioning of brick-and-mortar stores, the new FDI guidelines barred e-commerce entities from “directly or indirectly” influencing the price of goods and services. 

It also tasked the companies with ensuring a “level-playing field”. In order to emphasise this, it stated that cashback or other services such as quick delivery should be applicable to all vendors on these platforms. 

The policy required e-commerce platforms to realign their business structures to ensure compliance. A draft analysis by PwC, in fact, predicted that the revised policy could cause a $46 billion fall in online sales by 2022. 

However, experts have been of the opinion that price-influencing is a competition issue rather than an FDI issue. 

“FDI is the wrong place to regulate marketplace or anti-competitive behaviour,” Nikhil Narendran, a partner at India-based law firm Trilegal was quoted as saying. “Deep discounts by itself are not bad as long as they are not harmful for the consumer. Free market, competition, and innovation benefit the consumer.” 

What about the Competition Commission of India?

Before the new FDI policy took effect, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) — the watchdog for anti-competitive practices in India — had absolved e-commerce platforms of indulging in anti-competitive practices. 

For instance, in Ashish Ahuja v Snapdeal.com, the CCI noted that the e-commerce market “thrives on special discounts and deals”.

It had then ruled that while Section 4 of the Competition Act 2002 does prohibit predatory pricing, the discounts offered would not be illegal since Snapdeal was not a “dominant player” in the relevant market. 

A market player is said to enjoy a dominant position when it can function independent of its competitors, customers and others, to take unilateral decisions. 

However, with the growing concern over predatory pricing, the CCI is planning to issue a “soft policy advisory” for the e-commerce industry. 

The commission has also initiated a study on e-commerce to gather information and insights from market participants in goods and services for various sectors like mobile phones, grocery, food, electronic/electrical appliances, lifestyle and hotels.

CCI chairperson Ashok Kumar Gupta told The Economic Times last month that deep discounts make a business “unviable” as it reduces the value of products and services in the eyes of the consumer. 

Following written complaints by the brick-and-mortar retailers lobby, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the CCI also told Goyal that it will keep a close watch on these deep discounts. 

Draft e-commerce policy

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade also released a draft e-commerce policy in February, but this focused on setting up a legal and technological framework for restrictions on cross-border data flow. 

The policy did propose prohibiting e-commerce marketplaces from adopting business strategies that favour one or few sellers/traders, and a more comprehensive version is expected in 2020. However, the government has clarified that there will be no changes in the FDI rules in the sector. 

In August this year, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution released  ‘E-Commerce Guidelines for Consumer Protection 2019’ to protect the rights of online customers. These guidelines make it the e-commerce platform’s responsibility to maintain a “level playing field” and to ensure that it does not “influence the price of the goods or services”.

Meanwhile, the US government has reportedly voiced its concerns over the new FDI rules for e-commerce, and pushed for the regulation to become a bilateral issue.


Also Read: RSS affiliate, trade body want govt to act against Amazon & Flipkart, fear ‘black Diwali’


 

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146 Comments Share Your Views

146 COMMENTS

  1. I purchased one high end laptop online from Amazon (Dell Inspiron 5570)
    Transaction was done on advance payment by Debit Card.
    Since I had problem from day of 1st use, I investigated. I found the following
    1)The laptop was a locally assembled by Dell India from Scrap windows 8 bought in lots. Only Mother Board was procured as OEM . It was sold as new one
    2) The fraudulant activities was carried out by Amazon India in connivance with Dell India
    3) The GST INVOICE. Of NIL was done showing as replacement supply
    4) No DCOA sticker (DELL CERTIFICATION OF AUTHENTICATION) attached . hence no Royalty was paid to US
    I HAVE ALL DIGITIZED PROOF. I wrote to FM & GST council . No action

  2. I bought a Vacuum cleaner from Eureka Forbes store offline from their dealership. And when I required service, they were not being helpful. But for the products I have bought online from Amazon – I’ve got excellent service. I would prefer to buy from Amazon because of their customer service.

  3. Discount in e- commerce for good products is good for the end users. But control mechanism on the quality of the products put up for sale should be there. The Govt should have stringent law to control over production in the factories , which can go over to the discount counters.. Bulk purchase is a mean to facilitate discount, but quantum of discount sometimes over shoot the production cost?. Productions and entry of down grade products are the grey areas where the Govt should look into , to stop exploitation of the customers

  4. Seems like a politically-motivated article glorifying the blunders of BJP. Yes BJP has proved to be a big blunder. They simply want to convey the “hafta” system to these companies. When all the buyer-seller parties agree to sell stocks on discounts, why does the BJP stomach starts paining? The producer, buyer, seller and consumer all are happy, then what is the problem. There’s no exploitation nor violation. Where was BJP when Jio used the same strategy to revolutionise the era of Internet? Now when these companies are just letting off on festive season, the party has problems. Height of lies and hypocrisy.

  5. Many are mistaken as they are talking about Jio and Ambani, Adani…..Please remember that the Government is not supporting them…Its actually a government of Ambani and Adani……if you are aware that Ambani spent so much crores when BJP came to power…..Will our voices be heard when the Election commission just removed their website content soon after questions were raised about the discrepancies in counts….Can India be saved? ??

  6. Let us not simply blame govt for everything. I have experience of big companies affecting small companies this way. Poor customers lack knowledge on after sales service, if it needs it. I assure you that all online purchases do not give any service latter. Then, does saving money during buying matter?

    On govts part they must close all online sales

  7. Long live Economic Nationalism!

    Yeah, it’s perfectly antithetical to Economic Conservatism — so what?

    As long as it benefits the vote-bank and above all, the campaign-donors — why should it matter?°

  8. The BJP Govt. was taking a deep nap when the same predatory pricing practice was used by Jio, which completely dis-mantaled the telecom industry and now when two e-commerce giants are offering huge discounts in festive season the Govt. appears to be worried. Two contradictory facets of the same Govt. These are the Acche Din! for which we voted.

  9. What was Jio’s strategy if not predatory. They even used the PM’s photo in their promos. Jio destroyed an entire industry. And today they are going to charge for outgoing calls.

  10. This govt is trying to fool us, when jio was launched and they were giving free calls and internet services ,then where was their bullshit predatory pricing . You can’t fool us anymore. We know very well what are your intensions.

  11. People say that these guys are taking all Indian money out to US. Without realizing that Amazon & Flipkart could not take 100% to US as the majority share of a transaction goes to the retailer selling the product .. Amazon/Flipkart only make small commission..

  12. Once check the retialers property how they are looting citizens, for Rs500 product they charging Rs 1500, example puma basic shoe even brand factory selling rs 2000 which we can get it Rs 999 in online web.
    At the outset, because of ecommerce companies, shopkeepers in remote villages and towns are able to sell their products to the customers in the metro cities
    Obviously, such retailer would be happy to celebrate his diwali with such sales
    On the contrary, the retailers (in the large metro cities) were looting the citizens with their predatory exorbitant prices. Further, these retailers also used to run parallel economy by encouraging cash transactions, under reporting their income, not paying taxes. Now karma has come sharply to return them their misdeeds
    An open economy is always welcome. Thanking Amazon and Flipkart to connect the remote retailers in the remote villages to the customers in cities

    The government should encourage the free market and open economy
    Also, if government policy favours any specific industrial group or family, it should be avoided

  13. You’re not allowed to kill competition unless you’re gujju.
    The hypocrisy of Government of Amit Shah (I) Pvt. Ltd. stinks to high heaven.

  14. This is so much bullshit.. What is ambani doing by giving free calls and cheaper rates he is also eating into bsnl profits. Modi government just wants to clear path for Mr. Ambani

  15. Amazon and Flipkart don’t seem to be giving ministers’ share..They probably don’t know about ‘Hafta’ system in India….

  16. This is the only platform which remains
    Which is helping 100 percent for poor and below poverty line people to buy thing for cheaper
    Hats off to our government, good work please continue ur good works by this kind of issues because in India only money speaks ( companies like reliance) not the people who put t vote

    Nothing is stable …….. no body can cheat no one for ever…… -I AM AN INDIAN.

  17. The government is always running after businesses where it is not able to earn more taxes directly. Lesser prices means lesser taxes for the looting government. God knows where the all money is going when they are demanding more money from RBI. Common men are delighted to shop online but no this government shall not accept even that. The retailers themselves are always trying to loot the customers by quoting outrageous prices for their goods and then trying to under report their earning through cash transactions. This whole system is flawed and needs a dictator. Only way for india going forward is dictator.

  18. Modi government is just trying to make way for the Mukesh Ambani to enter online e-commerce business (as he stated earlier this year).

  19. I was surprised lately how the regulatory authorities allow the manufacturers to mark MRP for more than double the supposed MRP of any product which some traders sell at MRP mentioned on the product, and some sell at different prices at their discretion. This is not only applicable for online trading but also for trading by dealers/traders.

    Hence the Government should first of all try to control over the markup MRP prices mentioned on the Products and not allow to keep such wider margins.

  20. Had it been Ambani… they would have found it perfectly alright.. They didn’t have the guts to question they same for jio even after the competitors filed so many complains and objections.

  21. Now a days, due to fierce competition, every customer is wise enough to spend right amount for purchasing any item of his or her interest. The customer has really become a bargain master. This is nothing new for an Indian Customer. We have seen foreigners learning and adapting the skills of Indian bargaining style when they are buying from roadside shops. Every customer longs for the lowest price and time will come when the seller will discuss directly with prospective buyers about the price before launching his products in the market to avoid any confusion. In our country, it has become very advantageous for genuine buyers to fetch really competitive prices for the products ranging from a small item of grocery to a built up flat or house. Credit goes to the customers trained for excellent bargaining.

  22. So why no question raised to reliance jio when it was selling it’s product free free free which impacts a lot to the other operator and with out Any option they had to switch off their Network.

    • The government is by all means following the cunning spirit conveyed by the adage: ” Show me the man, and I will show you the rule”.

  23. At the outset, because of ecommerce companies, shopkeepers in remote villages and towns are able to sell their products to the customers in the metro cities
    Obviously, such retailer would be happy to celebrate his diwali with such sales
    On the contrary, the retailers (in the large metro cities) were looting the citizens with their predatory exorbitant prices. Further, these retailers also used to run parallel economy by encouraging cash transactions, under reporting their income, not paying taxes. Now karma has come sharply to return them their misdeeds
    An open economy is always welcome. Thanking Amazon and Flipkart to connect the remote retailers in the remote villages to the customers in cities

    The government should encourage the free market and open economy
    Also, if government policy favours any specific industrial group or family, it should be avoided

  24. Discounts by e-commerce retailers are good as long as they allow level playing field for conventional ‘brick and mortar’ retailers. Predatory pricing must be curtailed to save thousands of jobs in the retail market

    • What they want to do is a mystery

      Everytime consumer or the common citizens gets benefited by something and has a chance to save some money this government is like ‘we need to stop this because Indians are meant to be poor’ and when the economy falls then they blame the citizen

      Wow

  25. If the democratic Govt of India is by the people, for the people of India, then it should not come against interests of people who get benefitted from e-commerce apps and sites. Even Govt benefits from FDI regime.
    $44bn loss to govt extended as benefits to people as discount/cashback should be celebrated & taken positively.
    Govt & tax system failed to provide to people what Amazon, Flipkart etc provided. So,Facilitate & develop partnership instead of opposing & blocking any good deeds done.
    All know,due to such narrow minded greedy outlook of Finance Minister,RBI governor,even house loan interest rates for settlement in India remain 8-11% which is higher than other nations like Japan etc… This is a point of failure of govt in itself.They need to learn from their past how to improve,not to worsen life in India.

  26. If the so called companies offer the items at discounted price it is good for the common man, and instead of crucifing these companies, the government should learn how they offer at low prices and still make profit. This means the original rate of a particular item which is being purchased from open market is priced too high, and the common man is being squeezed up and made to pay higher amount even if it can be sold at a very low price.

  27. What happened to modi when ambani gave free internet and collapsed the Indian telcom market eventually in the breaking down of BSNL

  28. No one is doing business to serve you but only to make profits 2day or 2mrw. This goes for ecommerce also.

    In India a considerable population survives by indulging in retailing through a multi level retailing chain. Where the profit margin is shared/distributed between them. The costs of brick & mortar stores also adds to lot of costs depending on its location.

    The retailers cut down storage considerably by locating their stores accordingly which is not the option with the general retailer. 2ndly the bulk purchasing capacity which he has is not available to the general retailer.

    Its something like the big fish is being encouraged to eat the small fishes. This will lead to employment crisis, and economic slavery of Indian nation to such MNCs if not checked and regulated in time.

    Don’t forget 2day u may be a beneficiary, 2mrw you will be the sufferer. Dontbforget the historical lesson we have already seen in hands of East India Company.

    Yes I also support better monitoring and regulation of the general retailers also to ensure fair practices in their businesses. GST is one measure. Similar measures on QC & Price labelling is also required………

    • Government should also be concerned when the airlines do the opposite.There are many airlines, including Air India,who cheat the public by increasing their ticket prices many times . There should also be a cap on airlines ticket prices which should be worked out logically.

  29. The present govt of India has failed to provide any relief to the citizens. The inflation rate is so high. Shopkeepers often never give discounts to people and many times also sell goods of very poor quality for big prices. So when online companies are giving discounts then the common consumer is being benefited from this. So when these companies are cutting their own margin and giving discounts to people then what is the problem. So these online companies must be allowed to do their business and give huge discounts to the people. Let the people enjoy shopping at low prices.

  30. Why the modi goverment not oppose and cii not shows their role when mukesh ambani led jio offered free service for one year and after may complaints on court take action against the government for this pricing. Exchequer loss thousands of crores due to this pricing. Now a new terror is lavied by jio know to. 6 pisa iuc charges which are not the part of any criteria of rules but goverment favour and no action is being taken and cci is sleeping and trai is the executive of ambani

  31. Bhai ye amazon flipkart aur baki sab, unhone hi toh india ki economy ko barawha diya ,
    ghar ghar wo saman pauhchaya jiska liye dukandar chik chik karte the
    Wo bhi discounted price pe
    Packing ka paisa , gari ka paisa , jo 4 th floor tak tv ya ac charaheiga usko alag se paisa do
    Aur lakh o laundo ko naukri diya ,
    Aur jo local dukandaar purana maal naye price tag mein bech dete hein uska?
    ab bhajpa ki khujli badh rhi hai Kyunki diwali mein khusiyan ke badle mein mitron tax bharo

  32. BJP Government should recall their promises made for the people , goods prices where every citizen can afford.
    Instead of targeting the worlds biggest e commerce company target those local market sellers who suck up the money beyond MRP rate. Other countries like US and Canadian local markets sellers are far better who sell things affordable to their every type of citizens. Literally in cents with quality.

    • I got quick dry shots in reliance market for Rs500,and same kind of quick dry shots I purchased on road side for Rs180 in goa written inside made in Bangladesh, both clothes type are same what does it mean

  33. Oh Boy! Now selling something with justified price seems predatory prices. Damn Shit! Ban those blood suckers who sell things blindly in the local market with prices that is way too high than the MRP! Common government grow up a little!

  34. Everybody should understand that big grocery retailers and online grocery stores of today are really doing a good job by benefitting their customers by selling various items after lowering the prices immaterial of the printed MRP. They have fixed pricing but with good discounts for everyone. Even a novice can buy from such stores without experiencing any misdeed on the part of such a store. Because of various good purchase schemes run by these chain stores on the festive occasions, these stores are visited by numerous customers for daily needs and grocery items. Their exchange policy is also commendable. No foolish questions are asked at the time of returning or exchanging any item. On the contrary, a small retailer or a neighborhood grocery store will never spare a penny as discount despite the fact that he is having the same purchase price while buying the goods from a distributor. He always stands desperate for earning more profit instead of pleasing his customers by means of discounts. He quotes altogether higher rates for the loose items or non branded products. There is no limit to apply higher pricing of such products by him.
    He always thinks of short term gains and will rarely respect the customer. To test his friendliness and generosity one can go to return or exchange any item. What to talk of return he will make untoward faces even at the time of simply exchange of an item previously bought. Price is not the only thing the general attitude of any retailer for his daily customer pleases the customer. What will you call this. This is essentially a comparison between ease of doing purchase versus pain of doing purchase from two different entities which is easily noticeable by a wise customer.

  35. This is nothing but tax hungry government.
    It has not a single policy to benefit common people but to loot where ever possible. And evven after collecting so much tax, no one knows where is this money going.

  36. Do these e commerce companies pay taxes to indian government on the profits which they make by selling goods in india? Can anybody explain the correct and legal position.

  37. Why selective application of law? Same way, even Jio also to be put on notice. For the sake of one Co, whole telecom industry including PSU BSNL are on the verge of collapse.

  38. Govt should focus or interfere only in matters of quality of products sold and ensure consumer is not cheated in any way.
    Govt need not worry as products sale through e commerce or retailers is generating revenue and also helping business growth for both manufacturer and seller.
    Govt should only intervene or worry if it is not getting its dues by way of taxes.
    It is the right of the consumer to buy quality product at a fair / discounted price.
    The retailers have looted the consumers day in and out all through these years. They should not cry foul .
    Let consumer be the ki g of the market

  39. reliance is running its network onis data channel whereas law says data and voice channel cannot be mixed. other service provider are bound to follow the law and not reliance. govt favors reliance is the example on the cost of independent business.

  40. Modi ke to bachhe nahi he so usko ku6 kharidna nahi par hamari kyu maar raha he,?? Hame sasta mile usme government ko Kya problem he,? Sellers ko thode me jyada kamana he, to ham to wahi jaege jaha fayda hoga.

  41. Where was this activeness was gone when JIO took loan from Nationalised banks to provide free services in attempt to sink BSNL and other operators. First govt try to control prices of medicines which are sold in retail market at five to ten times rate than wholesale rate. Medicines also should be allowed on Amazon Flipkart so that common people gets medicines in reasonable amount.

  42. Government is making fool to us…Government can’t take donations or bribe from foreign investors and local businesses like Big bazaar , Reliance retail etc give huge fund to them so government is safe guarding there businesses. Government is not at all worried about small retailers. If they are worried then why not they are asking same question to big bazaar and Reliance that why they are spoiling retail market. It’s all money game. If they are selling goods in huge discount it means manufacturers like hull, png, itc are making huge profits and government don’t ask them to charge fare price. If manufacturers can give huge discount to big names than why not to small retailers or local buyers which helps the poor to get goods near by without any problems.

  43. They need an action against them. If they are willing wholeheartedly they must be aware from the introduction stage where, from last few years they are making these offers.
    False in making and recognising the rules of e commerce.

  44. Crap article, where else can such load of crap find place but ThePrint or the Quint or more such left leaning so called secular/impartial media.

  45. What about Jio. Hasn’t it offered predatory pricing and destroyed airtel, idea, vodafone, bsnl, mtnl etc and saddled banks with lakhs of crores of bad debts. Hasn’t it practices destroyed a sector which was once a sunrise sector. Why such favourable dispensation, just because it’s Reliance

  46. The law is only against selling above MRP and not against giving discounts. Not just to that. Returns, exchanges, etc., were almost impossible with the retailers, and in the remote cases where happens, it would only be after unpleasant exchanges. Govt should think on what is better for the consumer rather than the retailers who are looting the people.

  47. Just to benefit some big corporets retail business they are trying to destroy Amazon and flipcart. They have already done in telecom sector. Keep it up BJP

  48. This is call dogla-panti of government, when jio offered free internet and calls that time Mr.modi attended the jio advertisement.Amazon and Flipkart gives product on minimum profit business rule at festival season than they have pain.
    I personally thanks to these online site who cares our festival, with our limited budget life- style.

  49. Government has to stop this as these companies are basically based or owned by foreign entities. If they would continue doing these type of business practices, the local market will not thrive at all. Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, Amazon literally clean swiped the American leading giants in different industries such as , toys manufacturers, house products, electronic sellers, and what not. Understand that billions of dollars which were to be distributed among the thousands of different sellers are now going in the pocket of 2-3 e-commerce company. And people who are taking about Jio and why government didn’t interfere , it was because other companies were unnecessarily charging the consumers, thus taking wrong advantage of their monopoly. Jio did not indulge in any wrong practices and broke the exploitative market conditions. Jio did not effect millions of manufactures or people associated with it like e-commerce companies are doing. It just took the market share from 2-3 leading companies who were exploiting the consumers.

    • What’s problem with the government, they don’t create job opportunities, if created they pay us less but tax us more on each and everything, gobal level crude oil price is low but you you still charge us more, GST on all stuffs increase their cost and loot our hard earned money just like that ..and now those private sectors are providing our utilities at reasonable price you interfere in this an spoil this too what sin we have did other than born in this country. There alot of important stuffs you should worry about why do you punish middle class peoples like this..😔😔

    • Common Bro don’t tell foreign companies lots of developement taking place employments in India creating by foreign companies which helps in GDP growth. If foreign companies shutdown will you provide govt jobs to all those. Who are working for foreign companies. If foreign companies stop straight away GDO will drop more then 50%.

    • Jio has caused loss of jobs millions people in Telecom sectors.
      Many telecom company has been shut down as they are not so big to compete with jio.
      Predatory pricing..
      Have any one noticed how high id spectrum prices in india as compares to world other countries..

      That’s why the prices were greater in india.

      Jio is also destroying the competition.
      And will have the whole monopoly in the sector.
      Se jio monthly plan minimum 99, if u want to
      Be only connected..
      Earlier it was zero…

  50. A humble request in order to stop rampant gross and vast misuse and streamline pricing, whether in Retail shops or online, , please have a policy on MRP.
    There is unrealistic MRP pricing prevalent and profiteering. Products are given undeserving prices of say 3000, when actually they should not even cost Rs 250. They lure customers with hugh discounts and buy one get one/two offers. We can find them even in our daily use items like rice, oil, grains, etc. Example Rozanna Daily Regular grade Basmati Rice MRP 250 per kg. This rice is worth not more than Rs 75. Who regulates them. Who gave them the pricing of Rs 250 per kg. For Rs 250, one should get one of the best quality basmati rice.

    We need to please remember that Most local shops sell their products at MRP and mint money at the cost of the Common Man. They are given hugh margins by the Distributors who also pockets hugh margins for himself. No doubt we have hugh sales of Mercedes. Please if someone can bring it to the notice of the relevant ministry for immediate corrective action. Please let us get MRP issue fixed first. Thank you

    • I thought no you media people’s are influenced by govt . Finally we should look in to benefits for comman consumer .we should appreciate Flipkart and Amazon for what they are doing .

    • There is a govt portal for bringing such issues to the attention of the right ministries. Go and file a request. Alternately you can also file an RTI online questioning the required ministry (consumer affairs?) on this practice.

  51. Everyone knows how the businesses fix prices, go to any wholesale market. it is dominated by a particular community and they give out clear instructions to not sell a particular commodity at a price lesser than they suggest. Why is the govt sleeping on that? Th e commerce companies are thriving and able to give the discounts only because they are not controlled by that community.

  52. Does predatory pricing concept not appapplicable to Jio? Why should the government intervene when customer is getting product at lower prices? Are Amazon and flipkart not making profits despite charging such low prices? Then just imagine what is the profit margin when goods are sold at MRP?
    Did we elect this government to allow businessmen suck the blood of common man to build empires?
    Actually government should enquire why business houses are charging so high a price compared to the manufacturing cost.
    We expect our ministers to use their brains

  53. If predatory pricing is really bad and against the rules ..the what stopped the govt from questioning jio. Wasn’t that a clear case of predatory pricing. ??

  54. Public ka jeena haram karke rakha hai iss govt ne. Iss mahngai ke time kuch relief milta hai kahin se to iss govt ko bardast nahi ho raha hai. Boycott this type policy govt.

  55. Finding all ways and means to take money from general public and feed the sick PSUs and banks.
    Not a single tax money is invested in any development work. The development stands still. Tax goes to feed the PSU and PSU banks. Every year this govt feeds more than 100000 crore to these PSU in staff salary revival. Good planning. They must be thinking to increase the tax rate to give them the hiked salary. We are heading to a big zero.

  56. What should be more important for the govt; the interest of a retail purchaser or the local business tycoons ?…. .. If this govt has been accused of being ,” a suit boot ki sarkar”, it doesn’t need to be questioned.. Actually the problem with this govt is it lacks vision. And is yet to understand the demands of emerging globalization..

  57. Has the government or the concerned Ministry ever looked at overpricing.
    Eg. In Mumbai you purchase from Dmart the prices are very much lower than MRP , agreed due to bulk large quantity purchases they get discount.
    But government has to check how the MRP is determined other retailers sell on MRP but the big margin n difference clearly shows the big difference.
    Therefore first an MRP must be correct n reasonable not fleecing the end users.
    Agreed go behind the behemoths, but dont spare the retailers they are in numbers – together the government can fine them n that collection will exceed what they plan to get out of Amazon or Flipkart.
    Government must check why the big difference n why are others overpriced.

  58. What about irregular practices in telecom sector? Government allowed Reliance to dominate local market and even ignoring government owned company BSNL, which led to to bad condition of Idea and BSNL by losing customer base.
    I believe Indian government now should apply fair business practices in all sectors in india in the same way US has done.

    • This is nothing but hypocracy on the part of govt. Back then JIO was allowed to carry out predatory pricing leading to many operators to shut down their shutter rendering tens of thousands of people jobless causing hardships to their livelihood. What did the govt do then? Were they sleeping? Does it not arouse some suspicion on the mind of many? Why Not punish JIO also? Seems like govt has some favourite. Guess who?.. let readers be the best judge.

  59. Don’t you think that Consumers are poor than local retailers. Why government are against consumer in getting products @ reasonable rates? Competition are to promote reasonable pricing so all sellers should giver discounts to customer and poor consumer can afford products due to discount. As due to high pricing consumer loose their hard earned money.
    Rather than restricting discounted pricing government should encourage local sellers to sell products at e-commerce website. So all parties are benefited.

    • Good i support ur comment. Government should be happy to doscounting price on e commerce that can be taken every poor indian. No action should be taken against e commerce.

  60. Government has to introduce a new policy for selling a product with minimum and maximum price at which manufacture want to sale should be printed on the product itself, customer will be able to know at what minimum price the product they can buy, and at the same time customer will be able to know at what maximum price they can avail that product. At the same time the government should monitor the quality product.

  61. What crap article? When has government made these statements?

    Why should government control private pricing unless its in life saving category?

    When shops loots customer its ok?

  62. In this global slowdown Amazon and Flipkart are infact helping consumers to buy things at reasonable prices. These steps should be initiated by e-commerce companies based in India. That clearly shows that the Indian manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers can easily get these prices within the same range. But the government instead of focusing on the real issues are diverting it. This way it will honestly be difficult for an genuine tax payer to survive. Policies should be in favour of Common Man. The ways government is seeing things is not Democracy. It is purely hypocracy. I strongly oppose to such decisions.

  63. This only supports the theory government of India is run by Reliance Industries.
    Relaince is making its way into e commerce and now relaince are making rules which government has to implement. The Govt motto seems to mandate every Indian to use only relaince platform so that when the free period is over there will be no competition. Can someone please file a PIl again the supreme court judges are also pro reliance if the verdict goes against then the judge will get transferred or forced to resign.

  64. The proof of predatory pricing depends on analysis of cost structure. The manufacturer can not waste this country’s resources. The ministry of commerce must assess the cost elements and find out the real reasons of low price. No manufacturer can sell its products at discount financing from own resources. To call a spade a spade no traders are allowed to waste the country’s resources. I think modi govt. should not allow to incur losses where by resources of this country is wasted.

  65. So, ThePrint want us again to consider Modi government is not in well fare of India peoples and it keep doing as if they choose to feed upon Modi as their business monopoly through running campaign called Anti Modi. If the government wants to punish Amazon and Flipkart in order to maintain the law. Why you’re so pitifying on e commerce company just because Modi government choose to doing this so?

  66. E com is completely misunderstood , it benefits seller, buyer,manufacturers. it employs delivery executives, call centre employees,transport employees, packaging executives, helps small businesses to grow inspite of inflation. People must learn to adapt to this as it is going to be a way of life!!

  67. Just because reliance wants to start an e commerce company now Amazon and flipkart became predatory it’s just like maggi and jio try to destroy the competion by one way other and take over and entire industry …. If product is available at the price why can’t the costmer have it many people are employed and many people are selling products on amazon opportunity have been created also not to mention direct marketing is also started on social media destroy them to … Corporate culture dosenot allow you to have time to shop a lot of things …. Buy from relianse or don’t have the product at all . I anyone have doubts about this they tried to ban cod on online forums 6 months back with the intention of company to start an e commerce firm

  68. It is better to impose additional 10% tax for all online shopping. It is a fashion now. 100% digital is not required for a country with 130 billion population. It will create job losses.

  69. Where is CCI when it comes to Zomato and Swiggy? Those huge discounts and commissions are destroying the restaurant industry! Common public is being fooled and food quality standards are lowered to survive in the competition.

  70. We are happy with the services of Amazon anf Flipkart, Uber, ola. They offer competitive price. Govt should be happy that people are happy with their services. In fact people are not happy with govt services like SSC, Univ and judiciary and PSUs who are under suspicion. Govt and judiciary are same. No laws are being implemented. If govt wants, it gets implemented immediately whether it is constitutional or not.

  71. Foolishness on the part of other competing sellers. If Amazon can sell, they should also sell. They want huge margins for maintaining brick and mortar shops and want the customers to subsidized their expenses through high prices. Surprisingly, GOI is supporting them where as it should opposite. I support Amazon and Flipkart.

  72. A great though, by government just I can say
    Ha Ha Ha ,
    After the losses in Diwali finally government wake up.
    It’s politics, well played

  73. Modi just travels for 6 months without bringing any business to India after getting elected. He screwed up the roads of Mumbai. Where was he when hundreds and thousands were stuck on an outstation train this year due to incessant rains.
    Whenever he wants he issues notebandi.
    I openly challenge him to come to me and have a chat not in any air conditioned room but on the road without his freaking bodyguards.
    He doesn’t have the guts…
    In Modi’s Raj the economy has gone down. It was at an all time high when Manmohan Singh was in the office.
    I an not so proud to be an INDIAN after seeing such state of affairs.
    Finally A BIG THANK YOU to all the intellectual illeterates to vote Modi into power….

  74. Not only does the government tax to death but also imposes protectionist barriers, to buying cheaper goods, on consumers. Now it also wants consumers to pay more for goods that sellers are ready to sell for a lower price. All in all government wants to ensure that tax payers are left with no savings. Wonder who the government is working for.

  75. When e commerce is on higher sale offline sellers becoming more complicated to sell the products e commerce is providing highest discounts that even a Manufacture can’t offer. Due to this higher discounts customer getting benefit but becoming lazy that even without looking product physically customer is buying online

  76. What about Jio and their ‘predatory pricing’? They’ve ruined India for telecommunications. No one bats an eye for that

  77. Although deep discount is gud for customer but always remember if I am a customer today then on other day I am also a seller for goods or services..our mentality is that we want every thing with highest discounts when we are customer and wish to sell our product with highest price when they are seller.
    These companies say that you can reach anywhere in india to sell your product via our portal….

    भैया मैं दिल्ली से माल गुजरात भेजूंगा वो भी commission देकर, और गुजरात के भाव से सस्ता तो गुजरात का व्यापारी कहाँ जाएगा????

    कंपीटिशन अच्छा तभी होता है जब कंपीटिशन लगभग बराबर ताकत वालों के बीच हो।

  78. Sometimes it seems modi is ambani’s or adani’s Pa more than the pm of our nation. Worst gov ever , all are merely10 passed

  79. Why this was not applicable to Reliance Jio when it launch free services and competed the telecom companies and made small companies to close the business and became many people jobless…

  80. Where was such concern when Reliance Jio was freely permitted to damage the competition by using irrational predatory pricing and freebies?

  81. This is only because reliance want to enter retail business and want to dominate market, just like they have done in telecom sector. They know amazon is much stronger than companies in telecom. So Govt. is just trying to ake it easy for them.

  82. BSNL and MTNL committed harakiri through their poor service quality long before Jio came into picture. Nobody was required to kill those PSUs they killed themselves after harassing the public for decades.

  83. If Predatory pricing is allowed, offcourse it benefits customers and the customer always feel that other manufacturers are charging more.Just because, the e- commerce platform gets heavy discounts, they should maintain the price gap.There is no bar on this, even if Law is made.so why no notice is issued for selling at Predatory price.The rich is becoming richer and richer, and the other manufacturers are crying.These e commerce platforms should be barred from doing business in india.

  84. Even though I had bad experiences with Amazon of getting products without any catalogs wrt to use Homeshop18 not getting the order placed. Why blame online platforms for giving customers discounted price by forgoing higher profit margins despite charging GST. Also all products are not available in neighbourhood shops. Even if it’s there the full MRP is charged. Customers have no choice of selecting products

    • When cold drinks are sold above the MRP, finance ministry chills, but when customers are benefited from low prices, finance ministry gets on red alert. If this is not hypocrisy, what is ?
      Funding to political parties from any source is allowed and there is no need to disclose the source, But a common citizen of this country must pay higher price for an object to prove his patriotism. Waaaah !!

  85. Ridiculous.You cannot be talking global and acting local.Government has no business to rob the customers from getting better deals.And you have no business to stop somebody from managing their business wisely.Who is stopping local manufacturers from cornering the market by offering discounts to brick and mortar stores/ customers directly what they would have offered e commerce otherwise?

    • I wonder what the government was doing when Jio was “predatory pricing” the telecom market that has made Jio a near monopoly company. And ended the livelihood of thousands in the tele om sector.

      • Telecom sector can’t be compared to e-commerce
        It’s like comparing condoms and vegetables.
        What JIO has done is well within law and the competition act doesn’t arise there.
        The others in the Telecom sector were charging us 251 Indian rupees for 1gb of data.
        If you remember.
        And jio came and showed how much it actually costs and how much should be charged to the customers.
        Be thankful to jio. It has literally made lives of the whole country easier and affordable, irrespective of the network they are in. The Telecom industries even started to respect and value us to retain us. They were brought to their bloody knees after looting the people nicely.
        Anyway that aside..
        E-commerce is a new area comparatively, in India.
        The laws set currently are in the interests of the citizens of the country and not just the consumers who are temporarily for receiving few hundreds as discount on one or two purchases.
        But in actuality millions of shops are getting affected because of the foreign body in the country and it’s not Justice if their interests are taken too.
        The govt, though horrible at times, does come up with good stuff for the people.
        The law has to be abided whosoever it may be and whatsoever it may do.

        • It’s good to have competition, it is in benefit of customer. But if you look on a long run, what these billionaire compaines of e-commerce doing is they are giving there own money as casback or discounts to customers.,which is indirectly hampering the local market. Imagine a day when you have only billionaire companies selling everything and no local market, then you have to buy on whatever price they will offer. Its a changing policy of Amazon or Flipkart, as you can see when they started they used to give direct discounts, now changed to cashbacks or bank discounts, now they are charging you for getting more discounts, for eg: prime for free delivery. Even they started there own portal for payments.

          On the part of government, it’s there duty to look after the local market or per say the retailers. They should not be taken out of the market because they are not billionaire or they cannot spare money for discounts

          Predators pricing is like putting your money for discounts to cut the competition, which should be condemned.

    • Well said. The government if it wants to support small traders to enter e-commerce should create and maintain a portal through which the former can sell at whatever price they want. A small fee can be charged for maintaining the portal. Curbing free pricing is against consumers’ interest and undemocratic. The govt just wants to create a vote bank of retail traders for its own interests. No wonder BJP is called a ‘Bhania’ party!

    • Telecom sector can’t be compared to e-commerce
      It’s like comparing condoms and vegetables.
      What JIO has done is well within law and the competition act doesn’t arise there.
      The others in the Telecom sector were charging us 251 Indian rupees for 1gb of data.
      If you remember.
      And jio came and showed how much it actually costs and how much should be charged to the customers.
      Be thankful to jio. It has literally made lives of the whole country easier and affordable, irrespective of the network they are in. The Telecom industries even started to respect and value us to retain us. They were brought to their bloody knees after looting the people nicely.
      Anyway that aside..
      E-commerce is a new area comparatively, in India.
      The laws set currently are in the interests of the citizens of the country and not just the consumers who are temporarily for receiving few hundreds as discount on one or two purchases.
      But in actuality millions of shops are getting affected because of the foreign body in the country and it’s not Justice if their interests are taken too.
      The govt, though horrible at times, does come up with good stuff for the people.
      The law has to be abided whosoever it may be and whatsoever it may do.

    • Sir
      Jio is not moderator, it provided services and offered discounts from own pocket…….While these companies are moderators…They put pressure on seller after they acquire a certain number of seller in that category by saying
      तू नही तो कोई और सही।
      Believe me….It is my personal experience as seller

  86. I think we should be happy that government is taking some step to avoid Monopoly situation by 2-3 ecommerce who are trying to capture entire Indian customer base. Today 80% of ecommerce business is Mobile n Elctronic products which directly they controlled through owned companies which is clear violation of FDI norms.

    Today brick-n-motor (BnM) shop create huge employment in our country and it helps every Family at Local level which is associated with those BnM. (Minimum/Appox 4 Families get their bread-n butter by One BnM shop and reduce the concern of Unemployment). If they charging some extra it will help to balance local economy.

    Am not against ecommerce but they should not try to create a situation where they will control Brands and Consumers both which would be the disaster for country. Think form a long term perspective to balance the economy.

    • Dear sir,

      Can you please explain why Modi ji is silent when Because of jio BSNL ruined away. Now also due to Amazon and Flipkart poor people is benefitted. But this govt is anti poor. They want to eradicate poor from India. This move is to protect big business man who are suffering due to Amazon sales.

  87. This Govt is hypocrite. Firstly there demonetization policy kills small businessman. I don’t see any rich standing in queue and dying in the queue. Rich black money become white due to conversion. Poor small carpenter and other small business man dies. Then GST. In phulwama soldiers dies and government taking mileage. In Indian history first time government is glorified when soldiers died. How RDX reach there in that sensitive area no body. Knows. Ambani publicise jio Govt sleep. Now when Amazon and Flipkart offering relief then because businessman is suffering govt takes action. Mr Modi better you kill the poor. But no no poor are vote.bank.

    • Earlier days no one wanted to buy things above MRP.
      Now, no one wants to buy at MRP. So we love online shopping. If they want to discount items, customers never say “Don’t”.. We just buy them.

  88. When general middle class or lower class people gets goods at lower price, why this govt. Unhappy.
    Is govt. Working for people or for
    Business people.

      • why was jio not fined for giving free sim and connection as well as free mobile services which were predatory to other mobile network service providors, including goverment owned companies
        flipkart and amazon are at least not threat to goverment owned companies

      • Can you please comment when public sector BSNL is dying and Govt is promoting Jio. Amazon and Flipkart are giving relief to poor one. But Modi hi is worried about big business man.

    • Flipkart and Amazon should give stakes to the two big A’s close to them and than they will have no problem.

      How can common man save money. These ppl can’t digest it.
      Common man ka sab paisa in logon ke jeb mein jaana chahiye

  89. Mental state of present government can well be explained by a Hindi proverb: “दही खाएं की मही की दोनों”. It is short-sighted and confused which can be noticed from it’s decision regarding Demonetisation, GST, Budgetary tax proposals & then blackout. Obstinate and falsifying.

  90. They are not concern of ratail, their only worry is low GST due to low price…and if the revenue is low, corruption kaise karenge…this is black turth

    • I think you should understand the GST first then only comment like this.. GST gets paid at the time of first transaction when brands sells through ecommerce or Brick n Motor..

  91. The brick-motar store sells the product of cheap quality and without MRP listed on them. The local manufacturers put the high prices for their cheap quality products and wants us to buy. And profit margins are too high so retailers also sell these cheap products. And the e-commerce platform is actually giving discounts on products which are outdated or out of trend or also to clear the tag. For example the 3g mobile handset is no more trend so they call for these festive sales and clear those stocks.
    Finally : As a consumer i would like to get value for my hard earned money so if someone is giving it free for me, I have no problem with it.

    • There are plenty of cases where ppl gets cheap or counterfeit products through ecommerce also. We should only appreciate the convenient buying through ecommerce nothing else. I usually buy toys for my son through ecommerce and usually they stick more MRP than what was written on box. So it’s not you always gets good/fair deal.

      We should understand that they are also doing business and they are here for only one Motive I.e. Profit and Profit only.

  92. What a hypocrite govt this is? When jio launched free services to ruin BSNL and MTNL there was no hue and cry over that. Wasn’t free calls predatory pricing???? Government must answer this first.

  93. Already averse to FDI and free market, this government is unnecessarily trying to micro-manage trade and commerce. In fact the government should encourage more such players to enter the field and transform the structure to oligopoly. Having done that, it should just focus on tax compliance, keeping a watch on collusion, consumer rights and corporate governance. How competition should play out should be left to the market to decide.

    • e-commerce is complete white business, totally transparent. No cash transactions like brick and mortar store. Shouldn’t Govt be happy that they receiving good revenue or should they be worried about vote banks, the trader community? Govt should enforce all transactions only through card at these trader stores. Cash transactions should be banned. Only then these traders will pay GST in full and not evade tax.

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