Bengaluru consumer court lambasts Flipkart for poor customer service


Indian e-commerce behemoth Flipkart has been criticised by consumer court in Bengaluru for its unethical behavior with a customer to whom the SoftBank-backed company was liable to pay the extra amount charged for a product purchased in December 2015.

V Narasimha from Anekal taluk of Bengaluru urban district has approached the Bengaluru city consumer court after he was denied by the e-tailer to return Rs 1,878 extra when he purchased toys on its app in December 2015.

As per his complain he had purchased a toy worth Rs 583, but the delivery boy swiped his credit card twice mistakenly and Rs 1,878 extra amount was deducted from his account, reports ET.

Following the incident, the employee apologised and promised to refund the amount in seven days. After no communication from the company for a week, Narasimha then approached customer care of Flipkart where he was told to wait for some more days.

After multiple unsuccessful attempts, he finally approached the consumer forum on April 13, 2016.

The case lasted for almost two years till the court gave the verdict in favour of the complainant on February 7, 2018. The court ordered Flipkart to refund Rs 1,878 to Narasimha in 30 days.

The court also denied Flipkart’s excuse for being a marketplace who connect buyers and sellers where it is not liable for products purchased.

The court concluded the sale transaction took place through the Flipkart app and therefore, the firm is as responsible as the seller in addressing the complainant’s grievance.

The firm is liable for the act of its employees, including, in this case, the delivery person who collected excess money which amounts to deficiency of service and unfair trade practice, the judge added.

Flipkart previous legal cases

Recently, the Income Tax department had imposed a fine of Rs 110 crore after refusing Flipkart’s appeal on tax relaxation. The e-commerce firm has been asked to reclassify discounts and marketing spend as capital expenditure, failing to which it will have to pay the amount to income tax for the year 2015-16.

On November 22, 2017, the same court had ordered Flipkart to refund Rs 17,680 towards a faulty handset (Invoice without IMEI number) purchased by a customer from the website.

In the same month, a businessman had lodged an FIR against the company’s co-founders and three employees for allegedly cheating of Rs 9.96 crore by not clearing the dues the company owed him towards 12,500 laptops he had supplied. However, Flipkart had denied such claims.

In June 2016, the Malabar Hill police in Mumbai had registered a case of cheating against Flipkart for delivering a bar of soap to a customer who had ordered a Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Prior to that in April 2015, a consumer claimed of getting fake JBL wireless speaker on Flipkart.

The firm also received complains from Traders’ body the Confederation of All-India Traders (CAIT) who approaches DIPP alleging a violation of FDI norms for e-commerce by online retail major Flipkart. It was related to an advertisement in the newspapers announcing the sale of an item together with its discounted price to be available on its platform.

Besides, Flipkart’s former Chief Operating Officer (COO) Nitin Seth has sent a legal notice to the company for his ouster from the e-commerce giant, which he termed as illegal and asked for an explanation over the decision.

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