Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Consumer commission slaps `35K fine on Amazon, retailer


NEW DELHI: Observing that Amazon does not have an appropriat­e grievance redressal mechanism and has “one-sided oppressive” sale terms, a consumer commission here has imposed a fine of Rs 35,000 on the online seller and one of its retailers for deficienci­es in services.

The commission has also directed Amazon to provide a foolproof and transparen­t grievance redressal mechanism to customers.

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (East Delhi) was hearing a complaint from a person for the inordinate delay of around a year and five months in refunding the price of a defective laptop.

The laptop worth Rs 77,990, ordered through Amazon Seller Services Private Ld, was sold by retailer Appario Retail Private Limited, the complaint said, adding that the delay in getting the refund for the product caused the consumer mental agony and harassment.

“This commission is of the firm view that opposite party 1 (Amazon), who accepts orders from customers, places the orders to the third party and concludes the contract once the goods are delivered, is not a simple intermedia­ry,” the commission, headed by president S S Malhotra, said.

The commission, also comprising members Rashmi Bansal and Ravi Kumar, took note of the evidence before it, according to which the refund was initiated “almost after one year and five months after much deliberati­on by the complainan­t”.

“It is also establishe­d that OP1 is not having an appropriat­e grievance redressal mechanism and phone numbers of the concerned persons are not provided on its website, which amounts to a deficiency of service on its part. This is also observed from the terms and conditions (titled ‘Conditions of Use’) of OP1 that it has been using one-sided oppressive terms of contract which amounts to unfair trade practice on its part,” the commission said.

As the retailer or second opposite party (OP2) sold a defective product, it was also liable for deficienci­es in service, it added.

“OP1 and OP2 are directed to pay compensati­on to the complainan­t for its deficient service and unfair trade practice that has caused mental agony and harassment to the complainan­t to the tune of Rs 35,000,” the commission said in a recent order.

It also asked them to pay Rs 10,000 as litigation costs.

‘Amazon has also been directed to provide foolproof, transparen­t grievance redressal’

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