Flipkart return policy runs into trouble with Shroff Publishers

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Bengaluru | Published: August 6, 2015 12:39:16 AM

Aziz Shroff, the chairman and managing director of Shroff Publishers and Distributors, told FE that Flipkart is neither sharing buyer details with them, nor giving sufficient reasons for any returns.

E-commerce major Flipkart, which started its journey as an online bookseller, is facing a boycott from Shroff Publishers, which specialises in books on information technology. Aziz Shroff, the chairman and managing director of Shroff Publishers and Distributors, told FE that Flipkart is neither sharing buyer details with them, nor giving sufficient reasons for any returns.

Shroff Publishers has now boycotted Flipkart and deactivated 90% of titles on the e-commerce portal. “About 25% of our books get returned, and we would like some genuine reasons for the same. Flipkart has to show more transparency.”

Documents that FE reviewed showed some of the reasons as ‘customer requested to cancel the order, data and information inside the book not that much useful and expired product. “These are invalid reasons, we doubt if they are creating fake orders to show higher sales,” Shroff added.

Flipkart’s spokesperson, however, refuted the allegation. “This is completely baseless and untrue. Every sale on Flipkart is a valid sale to a customer and are regularly audited. With regards to return, books as a category see around 1% returns only. Overall, product quality is mostly the reason why a book returns. We have a zero tolerance policy on sellers selling soiled, pirated or poor quality books.”

Flipkart told FE that as part of its policy, the company shares customer details like name, delivery/shipping & billing address, order ID and stock keeping unit details, but not the customer e-mail address and phone number to protect the customer’s privacy. Flipkart retails over 30 million books of various categories with around 2,000 sellers on its platform in this segment.

Another seller pointed out that the number of books returned was as high as 50% between March and May. “After repeatedly complaining that we would not accept any more returns, suddenly the returns from customers stopped,” the person said.

Sellers also say Flipkart has raised the commission and shipping charges twice in the last six months which is impacting their margins. Flipkart raised the commission from 5% to 12% for the academic books and increased from 11% to 15% for the general book category.

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