The ongoing COVID-19 lockdown has brought a drastic change in people’s shopping behavior. While offline retail stores have gained more traction by serving efficiently when compared to e-commerce platforms during the ongoing lockdown, it has also brought to surface the issue of non-compliance in pricing policies by both offline and online platforms.
According to the latest survey by LocalCircles, consumers felt they were overcharged by offline stores that have seen to be profiteering from a surge in demand by charging higher than the MRP of packaged products.
According to the findings, 39% of consumers agreed that they were charged more than the MRP of a packaged item by a retail store in the last four weeks. The survey results are based on responses from over 16,000 consumers from 244 districts.
In contrast, e-commerce players have fared better in this regard by complying with the government’s orders of displaying exact MRP of all the products on their website, says the report.
More than half of the respondents denied being charged more than the MRP for packaged products bought through various e-commerce platforms during the same period. Around 21% said they were overcharged, while 25% of them said they were unsure about it.
One of the key reasons highlighted by the consumers for retail stores charging higher than the original price was the use of Whatsapp or other similar platforms for taking orders. This allowed store owners to mask the MRP and present a consolidated bill amount which could not be verified, per the survey.
In addition, consumers also complained regarding the prices of sanitizers and masks being sold above the MRP in the initial two weeks of lockdown, which began on March 25.
This survey has been conducted at a time when lockdown has impacted the supply chain of e-grocers that are witnessing a huge surge in their daily order volumes. Moreover, as the government has not allowed e-commerce platforms to not function beyond providing essential products has heavily impacted their businesses.