The All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) has been relentlessly raising the issue of predatory pricing by e-commerce platform. After writing a letter to competition commission of India (CCI) last year, it has now filed a petition with the CCI against Flipkart’s WS Retail.
In the petition, the seller association has alleged that the e-commerce platform is indulged in predatory pricing and favouring its own brands such as Billion, Marq and Smartbuy, which is destroying the business of smaller rivals and online sellers.
The seller body has similar complaints against Amazon’s Cloudtail and Appario Retail, which is also involved in predatory pricing and selling its own private labels.
AIOVA’s counsel Chanakya Basa has said in the petition that the seller body believes Flipkart is the dominant player in a relevant market and has abused its dominant position under sec 4(a), which is imposing unfair or discriminatory condition in purchase or sale of goods, according to an TOI report.
Importantly, the issue is not new and has been going on for some time. Last year, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) introduced guidelines for e-commerce players in India. It also took care of predatory pricing, limiting discounting and capping sales from one vendor.
It said that an e-commerce entity will not permit more than 25 per cent of the sales affected through its marketplace from one vendor or their group companies. And e-commerce entities will not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services. They shall maintain level playing field.
However, despite all the guidelines, seller body alleges that the e-commerce platforms are involved in all the activities in which they should not.
Last month, AIOVA said that they have lost all hopes and abandoned plans to raise concerns with the government, alleging inaction on its part and favouritism to companies such as Amazon and Flipkart.