The All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) has now filed a petition with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against Flipkart for apparently abusing its dominant position in e-commerce, reports PTI.
AIOVA represents about 3,500 sellers present on various e-commerce platforms like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal.
In its petition, AIOVA reportedly writes that Flipkart India, the subsidiary of Flipkart Singapore, is a wholesale dealer which acquires goods from various parties and immediately sell the goods to retail sellers like WS Retail Services and others at huge discounts, who subsequently would sell those goods at unmatched prices as sellers on internet platform under the name Flipkart.com. It adds that this kind of “preferential treatment and discriminatory conduct”, is prohibited under the Competition Act. AIOVA also alleges that Flipkart is “killing many independent sellers who depend on its platform for their livelihood”.
AIOVA has asked the anti-competition watchdog to direct Flipkart against offering steep discounts and to stop the e-commerce players from giving preferential treatment to a few seller entities.
There is an ongoing battle between e-tailers and retailers. Offline retail players and bodies have continuously notified about the malpractices or unfair practices like FDI violations, heavy discounts, not maintaining level playing field etc of e-commerce players.
The petition comes at the time when the online trader associations are against the recent Walmart-Flipkart deal. AIOVA and other trader bodies including Swadeshi Jagran Manch, and Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) are not in favour of the $16 billion deal as this could affect sellers’ business.
In latest development, Traders body Confederation of Indian Traders (CAIT) said that it will reach out to anti-competition watchdog CCI, as this deal can lead to Retailers to move CCI against Walmart-Flipkart $16 bn deal, fear it would lead to massive job loss and will be a ‘nightmare for retail trade’.
Retailers to move CCI against Walmart-Flipkart $16 bn deal, fear it would lead to massive job loss, be a ‘nightmare for retail trade’ https://t.co/HeDvE8RaID @praveendel @BCBHARTIA
— CAIT (@TEAMCAIT) May 22, 2018
According to this PTI report, CAIT has also written to Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu to know what steps the government has taken to scrutinise the Flipkart-Walmart deal. CAIT also alleges that the government has not taken enough steps and traders inputs for the deal despite multiple objections.
In a statement shared with PTI, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that this kind of attitude indicates that the government is turning balance towards MNCs at the cost of ignoring the domestic retail trade. “It is much against the BJP manifesto of 2014 which has committed no encouragement to FDI in retail. It appears that government has taken a U-turn on its declared commitment,” he added.
The online vendors want the government to for regulatory body for the sector before any changes are made in the ownership and control of the power of marketplaces.
Note that, a week ago, AIOVA urged again the government to set up a regulatory body to monitor e-commerce players and their merchant policies.