Hi, I HAD PURCHASED ADIDAS SLIPPERS FROM SNAPDEAL ON 24TH NOV '16 AGAINST WHICH THEY DELIVERED ME PUMA, TOTALLY USED AND DAMAGED PRODUCT AS IF TAKEN OUT FROM A DUSTBIN. SINCE 25TH I AM MAILING THEM, CALLING THEIR CUSTOMER CARE BUT NO SOLUTION HAS COME OUT. EVERY TIME THEY SAY THAT IT WILL BE PICKED UP FROM HOME AND MONEY WILL BE REVERSED IN MY ACCOUNT FOR THEY HAVE TAKEN MY ACCOUNT DETAILS BUT NEITHER IT HAS BEEN PICKED UP NOR MONEY REFUNDED. NOW PLEASE ADVISE ME WHAT ACTION I CAN TAKE . THANKS
There can be a general misconception as to all these portals are selling products. However, the reality is none of these portals are selling products. They are only facilitating sales of products through their online portals. Their main backbone is the logistics of placing order with the merchant members and having it delivered to the customers.
However, we would treat the online shopping portals as dealers as they are the gateway for buying the products by way of display. Even the payment is also received by them for the products sold through their portal. So they definitely have a decisive role to play in the selling of products.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 laids down the following clause in respect of jurisdiction for filing complaints:
A complaint shall be instituted in a District Forum within the local limits of whose jurisdiction,—
(a) the opposite party or each of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain, or
(b) any of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business or has a branch office, or personally works for gain, provided that in such case either the permission of the District Forum is given, or the opposite parties who do not reside, or carry on business or have a branch office, or personally work for gain, as the case may be, acquiesce in such institution; or
(c) the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises.
Since not all shopping portals will have offices or branches in all cities/towns, a customer cannot rely on clause (a) and (b) above in case of a dispute. Clause (c) might assist him and he may be able to file a complaint in the District Forum that covers the area where cause of action arises.
There have been quite a few cases filed in the District Forums of Karnataka, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala against onling shopping portals.
In Vinodkumar, Ernakulam Vs. Shoed Merchant, Mumbai & Ebay India, Mumbai, the District Consumer Forum, Ernakulam had entertained Mr. Vinodkumar’s complaint against Ebay and Shoed Merchant though his complaint was dismissed on a different ground and not for lack of jurisdiction. Mr. Vinodkumar successfully appealed the said dismissal order and was awarded compensation by the Kerala State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. Similarly, consumers have been successful in their complaints against Naaptol in Karnataka, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh DCFs. This is good news for consumers as this sets precedent for handling online shopping complaints by Consumer Forums.
In any case, based on the cases already handled by various DCFs, consumers can now fight it out in the District Consumer Forum for their grievances arising out of online shopping.
You should first send a letter to the head office of the company stating your grievances with complete details. Mention a time frame within which you expect an action from them. If they do not respond within the given time frame then send another notice referring to the first letter you had sent which went unnoticed and state another deadline within which if the company doesn't provide remedy to you, you will initiate legal proceedings as per Consumer Protection Act.
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