After limiting its services to essential products, e-commerce company Amazon on Thursday suspended cash on delivery (COD) payment method to minimize the risk of contraction due to the Coronavirus and ensure the practice of social distancing. “To ensure social distancing, we have temporarily suspended Pay on Delivery for all orders, and are only accepting orders made using online payments. We will continue to deliver orders that are paid online,” Amazon’s website and the app said. Customers can currently pay using UPI, credit/debit cards, net banking or Amazon Pay Balance.
“We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and its impact on our customers, selling partners, and employees, and based on this, are making changes to our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and seller processes,” Amazon had said in its statement. However, cash on delivery option is available on other online delivery platforms including Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy, Grofers etc. even as they continue to suggest making online payments during order checkouts. “Cash exchange can potentially become a channel for transmitting viral infection. Avoid cash exchange and pay online to keep yourself and the delivery partners safe,” Zomato said on its app for instance.
The government on Wednesday came to the rescue of e-commerce companies such as Flipkart, Grofers, Zomato, Medlife, Milkbasket etc. facing operational challenges on the ground including reporting action from police and local authorities. In a letter to all industry and trade associations, DPIIT under the commerce and industry ministry asked for setting up of a control room to monitor issues of internal trade, manufacturing, delivery and logistics of essential commodities.
“In the event of any manufacturing, transporter, distributor, wholesaler or e-commerce companies facing ground level difficulties in transport and distribution of goods or mobilization of resources, the same may be informed to this Department,” DPIIT said providing a telephone number and email address for registering complaints.
Also, Karnataka Police on Wednesday and Delhi Police on Thursday ordered its officers including traffic police to allow delivery agents of e-commerce companies, healthcare services, foodtech including Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy etc. during the lockdown. The two orders were seen by Financial Express Online. The relaxation in Karnataka would be based on the pass system, according to the order.
Among the essential goods, Amazon is currently accepting new orders for grocery, home cleaning products such as toilet supplies, detergents etc, health and fitness products including health supplements, healthcare devices etc, and baby care items such as diapers, wet wipes, and also pet supplies.