Way back in 2010-12 period HomeShop18 had a significant position in TV commerce as well as e-commerce segments. But from there on, the company gradually started losing the plot as larger players such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and other e-commerce firms began eating up its market share.
Things at HomeShop18 expected to change when Reliance took over the Network18 Group in 2014. Instead of improvement, things turned precarious and ultimately Reliance had sold out HomeShop18 to real estate firm Skyblue Buildwell.
While Reliance had exited the company, sellers have been left high and dry with estimated due of over Rs 150 crore. “About 60 sellers have been visiting HS18’s Noida office for recovering their dues from past one month. However, we’re yet to get any solid visibility like when we will be paid or who will pay,” said multiple sellers who were part of the protest.
According to them, Skyblue Buildwell has no connection to e-commerce business. “Reliance has completed the transaction for the sake of transferring liability. Nothing else,” added the aforementioned sellers. They requested anonymity as it can hamper chances of their recovery.
A letter written to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) by AIOVA outlined that the dues are not in the form of dues for supply or dues of debts, but this money has been collected by HS18 acting as a commission agent and payment collection agent on behalf of these merchants for the goods sold to the consumers on the platform.
“This act of non-payment is a breach of trust, and violates various laws related to trust, faith, payment collection, negotiable instruments and payment settlements,” mentioned the letter.
Entrackr has a copy of the above-mentioned letters.
The aforementioned sellers lamented that they have been running from pillar to post for their hard earned money. “We can’t go to the factory as we owe money to suppliers for several months. We have also looped in police and trying to lodge a formal complaint but nothing had happened so far. Several merchants are facing an existential crisis because of this,” mentioned sellers.
When we checked HS18’s website, it is taking orders at the moment. However, we have failed to find its TV channel on TataSky and Airtel’s Big TV.
Since HS18 has been bought by a company that has no experience of running any kind of commerce business, it’s unlikely that Skyblue Buildwell will be interested in running operations further. It’s worth noting that it’s not the first time when sellers are protesting for their dues. In the past, sellers of AskMe, Yebhi, YepMe and several other e-commerce firms found tough to recover their dues.
In fact, some are seeking money from them even now.