Time and again this question has come up, whether an e-commerce marketplace should be held equally liable along with manufacturer for selling a defective product?
Presently, the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission is hearing the matter which will fix the liability for e-commerce companies in India. In this case, Amazon Seller Service Pvt. Ltd. has appealed against a decision of Chandigarh State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, contesting that it cannot be held liable for sale of defective products of a manufacturer. Amazon contended that it neither sells nor does it offer to sell any products but all it does is provide an online marketplace where sellers can find buyers for their products.
Such a case was first filed by Gopal Krishna against Amazon in District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum where his Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 phone turned out to be defective after two months of purchase.
Krishna sent the phone to Xiaomi for repair but Xiaomi failed to do so. He was then told by Amazon to get a ‘dead on arrival’ report from Xiaomi, but the company refused. When he didn’t get his handset, he sent a legal notice to Xiaomi and Amazon, despite which, he did not get any satisfactory response. He then filed a case in District Forum.
In the Forum, Xiaomi and Amazon jointly refunded Rs. 9,998 i.e. the cost of phone and Rs. 10,000 as compensation and Rs. 500 as litigation expenses. The forum negative Amazon’s contention that it cannot be liable, saying that as a facilitator, Amazon ahd a duty to ensure that goods sold are as per quality standards. If the goods are not up tp the quality standards, the e-commerce player cannot escape liability.
Though Xiaomi stood by this order, Amazon decided to appeal against it. The Amazon has again approached NCDRC with the same plea. The matter will be heard next month.
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