The online shopping sector has witnessed a 45% growth in sales this year. Mega Deals and Big Discounts have attracted customers largely. But as per the investigation reports, fraudulent manufacturers and bogus sellers are rejoicing using the loopholes in the Information Technology Act. Meanwhile, online retailers claim to be intermediaries and are simply ignoring their responsibilities.
If reports are to be believed, more than 60% items available online are fake. In case of apparels, around 40% of the listings are done by bogus manufacturers.
A raid was conducted in Brahmpuri area of Meerut and plenty of fake sports essentials were found which were majorly being sold on e-commerce websites like Flipkart, Shopclues and Snapdeal. The seller, Mohit Bandhu, confessed that the COSCO and NIVIA balls were actually fake. He said that they were bought for Rs. 170-200 and are then sold online for Rs. 450-500. The police have registered an FIR against him.
Meanwhile, all the three major e-commerce portals denied any wrong doing and talked of stringent background and reference checks of sellers. The online shopping giants even spoke of zero tolerance towards counterfeit/fake products.
Paying heed to the investigation into counterfeit goods sold online, Consumer Affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that in order to safeguard the online shoppers, the Government will soon be bringing in a bill.
When the Brand Intelligence entrepreneur, Dhirendra Singh, was questioned about the difference between an original sports ball and a duplicate one, he said that the original comes in a cardboard box with a hologram whereas the fake ones don’t.
Dhirendra believes that these companies are involved in money laundering and cheating on GST. No clear civil option forces them to raid the sellers.
This rehearses the old dictum, “When It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is A Scam.”