Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Company Appellate Tribunal: A Bench of Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya, Chairperson and Justice A.I.S Cheema, Member (Judicial) and Kanthi Narahari, Member (Technical) admitted the appeal filed by the All India Online Vendors Association (“AIOVA”) against the order of the Competition Commission of India, dated 6-11-2018, whereby it held that no case of contravention of the provisions of Section 4 (abuse of dominant position) of the Competition Act, 2002 was made out against Flipkart and Amazon.

AIOVA’s case

AIOVA — company registered under the Companies Act, 2013 — is a group of more than 2000 sellers, selling on e-commerce marketplaces such as Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, etc. It informed the CCI regarding abuse of dominant position by Flipkart alleging that small vendors have become allies of the big vendors and suppliers to leading sellers such as Cloudtail., WS Retail, etc. on the Flipkart and Amazon platforms, rather than selling directly to consumers through the online e-commerce marketplace sites. Further, it was apprehended that unfair trade practices were being carried and corporate veil on it was required to be lifted to assess the economic nexus and the wrongdoings being committed.

CCI’s Order

The Commission vide its order dated 6-11-2018, found no contravention of the provisions of Section 4 by Flipkart. Holding that the relevant market in the instant case may be defined as “services provided by online marketplace platforms for selling goods in India”, the Commission further held that “looking at the present market construct and structure of online marketplace platforms market in India, it does not appear that any one player in the market is commanding any dominant position at this stage of evolution of market.”

Finding that Flipkart was not a dominant player in the “relevant market”, it was held that the question of abuse of dominant position did not arise. Furthermore, it was held that the information provided by AIOVA was not sufficient to substantiate the allegations against Flipkart. Though the information was filed against Flipkart, the Commission held a conference with Amazon as well as it is also a key player in the relevant market. On the same reasoning, the Commission held that no contravention of the provisions of Section 4 could be said to be made out against either Flipkart or Amazon.

Appeal before NCLAT

Aggrieved by the decision passed by the CCI, filed a company appeal before the NCLAT challenging the same. Chanakya Basa along with Nidhi Khanna, Advocates, appearing for AIOVA argued on the errors in the impugned order. Per contra, Senior Advocate Amit Sibal is representing the opposite party along with Rajshekhar Rao, Yaman Verma, Sonali Charak and Neetu Ahlawat, Advocates.

The Appellate Tribunal has admitted the appeal for hearing. The respondents have been given 10-days time to file an affidavit in reply. The appeal is further posted for hearing on 30-07-2019.[All India Online Vendors Assn. v. CCI, Company Appeal (AT) No. 16 of 2019, decided on 15-05-2019]

Case BriefsDistrict Court

District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ganjam Behrampur: The Bench comprising of Karuna Kar Nayak (President) and Sri Purna Chandra Tripathy (Member), partly allowed a case filed against O.P i.e. “AMAZON”  for ‘deficiency in services’.

In the present matter, the complainant Supriyo Mahapatra had filed a consumer complaint under Section 12 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for ‘deficiency in services’ against AMAZON.  The complainant had placed an order for an ASUS X450-cawx214d 14 INCH Laptop for an amount of Rs 190/- against the original price of Rs. 23,499/- by offering a discount of Rs 23,309/-, on placing the order for the same with the option of ‘cash on delivery’, the complainant received a confirmation on his e-mail id and further on acceptance of the order, the complainant was assured with its delivery of the product soon. Though in accordance with the facts as stated, the complainant’s order was cancelled after a couple of hours and he was intimated for the same through a phone call from the customer service department of O.P. Further, the O.P. in response to the reason for cancellation stated that there was some ‘Pricing issue’ due to which the order stands cancelled.

The primary issue that arose in the matter was due to no-response on behalf of the O.P after continuous efforts made by the complainant through customer care service and e-mail in regard to a valid reason for cancellation of his order, which finally forced the complainant to issue a legal notice, which again was not responded by the O.P.

For the above-stated submissions, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum stated that the “O.P. was not only negligent in rendering proper service to the complainant but also involved in unfair trade practice; as such we hold there is deficiency in service by O.P.”. Therefore, complainant’s case was partly allowed and O.P. was directed to pay Rs 10,000 for mental agony as compensation and Rs 2,000/- for the cost of litigation. [Supriyo Ranjan Mahapatra v. Amazon Development Centre India (P) Ltd., Consumer Complaint No. 42 of 2015, Order dated 05-09-2018]