The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (East), Delhi directed Amazon to hand over the receipt of the pickup item to the customer and to display the details of the concerned grievance officers on their website.

The Commission comprising President S.S. Malhotra, Member Rashmi Bansal and Member Ravi Kumar observed, “…OP1 has also not having any full-proof grievance redressal mechanism and there is nothing on record that shows details of its officers or of the seller. Further, non delivery of the pick-up slip by the pick-up person also amounts to unfair trade practice on the part of OP1 as in case of returns, the customers are left with no option as to the proof that item has been picked up by the right person.”

In the present case, the complainant had purchased a laptop by placing an order to Opposite Party 1(OP1), M/s Amazon Seller Services Private Limited sold by Opposite Party 2 (OP2), M/s Appario Retail Private Limited. The said product was defective and upon making complaints to OP1, the product price was refunded to the complainant.

However, the complainant reached the District Commission with a grievance concerning compensation for deficiency in service on the part of OPs in refunding him amount after more than a year, which had caused him mental agony, and harassment.

As per the complainant, the refund was given almost after one year and five months after the pickup, that too, after various requests were made to the company.

The complainant submitted that they were not given any receipt despite requests for the acknowledgement of pick up and were told that there is no procedure to give return slips to the customers.

A grievance on the consumer helpline as well as a police complaint was filed by the complainant when the complainant did not receive any confirmation regarding the return amount even after several communications.

It was further submitted that the website of Amazon neither displays contact details of the senior directors/ officers nor contact addresses of its head office or the OP2. It also stated that the grievance redressal mechanism is not mentioned either on the website of OP1 or the invoice and hence, the said conduct amounts to a deficiency in service of OP1 and OP2.

The complainant further submitted that OP1 had illegally retained his amount as OP1 plays an active role in selling, storage, warehouse and logistic support and the said product is a part of the “Fulfilled by Amazon” service, which implies that the product is being stored, packed and dispatched by OP1.

As per the Complainant, Amazon is responsible for customer care and is duty-bound to ensure that its delivery/return pick-up system is fool-proof.

The Commission found that the only grievance concerning the deficiency of service on the part of OP1 is that it was delayed in generating the return request and then in refunding the amount within time.

The Commission noted that the emails of OP1 even informed the complainant that it had no information about the ‘product pick up’ confirmation, which according to the Commission must have caused a lot of tension for the complainant. The Court further noted that when no return slip is given by the pick-up person to the complainant there was also apprehension as to whether pick-up was done by the rightful person or not.

The state commission relied on the decision of the NCDRC in Emerging India Real Assets Private Limited and another versus Kamer Chand and another, where it observed, “that it was the bounden duty of the facilitator, to ensure that goods sold through any individual or manufactured as per quality standard. If goods purchased through online or phone, not up to the mark, online portal, through which goods were purchased, cannot escape its liability.”

As per the Commission, OP1 is not a simple intermediary as it accepts the orders from the customers, places the order to a third party and concludes the contract once the goods are delivered to the complainant.

It further concluded that appropriate grievance redressal mechanism and phone numbers of the concerned persons are not provided on OP1s website, which is a deficiency in service on its part.

The Commission concluded that terms and conditions of the “Conditions of Use” of OP1 are using one sided oppressive terms of the contract which amounts to unfair trade practice on its part.

The Commission further found OP2 liable for providing defective product and observed, “Though OP2 is proceeded Ex.-parte, it cannot be exonerated from its liability to provide correct and defect free item to the complainant and to reddress his grievances by providing a complete grievance redressal mechanism.”

The commission directed OPs to pay compensation along with litigation cost to the complainant.

It further directed Amazon to make the provisions for handing over the receipt of the pick-up item to the customers in all the cases, which may arise in future and ensure safe and secure pick up from its customers.

Additionally, it was also directed to display on its site the complete detail of the officers dealing with the grievances of the complainant/customers and provide a fool proof transparent grievance redressal mechanism.

Cause Title: Anil Kumar v. M/s Amazon Seller Services Private Limited

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