New Delhi: After receiving “many complaints” from traders on Flipkart’s massive discount sale, the government on Friday said it will look into the concerns and take a call on whether more clarity is required on e-commerce retail business.
Flipkart’s “Big Billion Day” sale on Monday, that offered steep discounts on various products, has raised concerns among small and big traders that such campaigns would badly affect players in the traditional retail market.
“We have received many inputs. Lot of concerns have been expressed. We will look into it,” commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters here.
When asked whether the government is considering any particular policy for e-commerce retailing, she said the matter would be looked into.
“Now there are many complaints. We will study the matter. Whether there is a need for a separate policy or some kind of clarification is needed, we will make it clear soon,” Sitharaman, who is also the minister of state for finance and corporate affairs, said.
In recent times, many e-commerce portals have been coming out with steep discount sales. Flipkart has said that its “Big Bilion Day” sale saw 1.5 million people shopping at its portal. It also claimed that products worth over Rs.600 crore were sold in just 10 hours under the scheme. However, Consumers faced various issues like site crashes, marked-up prices, cancelled orders and out of stock deals among others, which led to the company sending an apology mail to all consumers albeit a bit late.
In the apology mail, Flipkart founders mentioned that in the lead up to the sale, the pricing of several products got changed to their non-discounted rates for a few hours. They said “We realise that this breaks the trust our customers have put in us. We are truly sorry for this and will ensure that this never happens again.”
Earlier this week, traders body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had demanded the commerce and industry ministry take steps to monitor and regulate online businesses.
The CAIT has also sought a probe into the business model and trade practices of e-commerce companies to find out how they are offering huge discounts during the ongoing festive season.
To a query related to Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) announcement, Sitharaman said that it will come “soon”. “The new policy would be different from the previous ones. It will focus on lot many things,” she said. FTP deals with matters related to exports and imports.