Amazon, Flipkart festival sales: Traders cry foul, ask for blanket ban on deep online discounts

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Published: September 13, 2019 5:53:54 PM

Amazon and Flipkart festive season sales have come under fire again, with India’s top traders’ body seeking a blanket ban on the upcoming season of deep online discounts by e-commerce firms.

Amazon was represented by senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and counsel Ruby Singh AhujaAmazon’s Great Indian Festival sale is scheduled around Diwali.

Amazon and Flipkart festive season sales have come under fire again, with India’s top traders’ body seeking a blanket ban on the upcoming season of deep online discounts by e-commerce firms. The Confederation of All India Traders has made a suggestion to the Ministry of Commerce to ban the online festive season sales. Stating deep discounts and predatory pricing as the point of contention, CAIT said that “e-commerce companies are openly flouting FDI norms,” and hence action must be taken against these companies. In a letter addressed to Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce and Industry, CAIT said that e-commerce platforms are diverting from the marketplace model which requires that the platforms act as only service facilitators between buyer and seller.

However, “the e-commerce platforms are deeply engaged in B2C business and the quantum of B2B business is almost negligible,” the letter reads. Further, CAIT said that since the sales can be organised only by the owners of the inventory, discounts cannot be offered from the end of e-commerce platforms. This is not the first time that CAIT has called out e-commerce platforms for distorting marketplace by offering hefty discounts and creating uneven level playing field.

In an earlier statement, CAIT had said that the body will align with sectors like transport, SMEs, farmers, consumers, entrepreneurs etc and will hold a conference to thwart this year’s sales. 

Previously, CAIT also requested Piyush Goyal to make registration of e-commerce companies with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) mandatory. The body also asked for disposing of the cash on delivery (COD) payment mode to boost digital payments. “While e-commerce has great potential but it is currently vitiated by certain malpractices that have led to a lack of level playing field and fair competition,” CAIT’s Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal told Financial Express Online few days back. 

Meanwhile, Amazon’s Great Indian Festival sale is scheduled around Diwali while Flipkart’s Big Billion Day sale is scheduled from 29 September. 

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