Update: Amazon India’s statement to us (below), that “All products sold on Amazon.in through our sellers are genuine” appears to be contradicted by comments left on Amazon.in by verified customers. Allegedly, a fake Xiaomi Power Bank was being sold on Amazon.in. Ashish Jain writes in the comments: “The product I recieved is fake. No 20 digit code for verification and several other conclusive signs of its being a fake product. I Xiaomi India customer care and inquire about their product generally. I was told by them that every original product has 20 digit verification code which shows its originality.”  Other comments by verified users: here, here and here. We’ve written to Amazon to inquire about their process for verification of goods. (Hat Tip: NT Balanarayan)

Earlier: As we reported last week, many consumer brands, including Lenovo, Dell, HP, Toshiba, Asus, Nikon have issued statements vaguely hinting that they might not honor warranties on products sold through e-commerce stores/marketplaces. Some have issued generic warnings against online purchases, while others, like Dell, LG, Toshiba, Netgear and Sony have warned against buying from any unauthorized reseller. Gionee has decided to not honor warranties, and QuickHeal even took Flipkart to court.

We contacted some of the the major e-commerce marketplaces, and asked them thee basic questions for warranties, based on inputs that we sought from Ankur Singla of Akosha.com:

Question 1. Have you come across any instances where manufacturers have refused to honor warranty agreements with consumers who buy products from your website? How have you addressed this?

– Amazon (warned about by Lenovo, Dell, HP,  ASUS): No specific response to this question

– Ebay (warned about by HP, ASUS): www.ebay.in is an online marketplace and an eCommerce website in the form of an intermediary which displays listings / data and content by independent registered users who adhere to the terms of use in eBay India’s User Agreement. eBay India does not own, stock, sell, distribute or verifies any items/products listed or put up for sale on ebay.in. By virtue of being a marketplace, eBay India does not provide any representation and/or warranty regarding any third-party content on www.ebay.in or any third party goods and/or services bought and/or sold via www.ebay.in.

Sellers who put up the listings of their products on eBay India are governed by what they state as description and specification for their items, which at times may include manufacturer’s warranty as well. At ebay.in, we have rarely come across instances where manufacturers have refused to honor warranty services. If such an instance does occur, then as a responsible ecommerce player, we coordinate with the seller and the buyer to arrive at a resolution. (Editor’s Note: Emphasis is ours)

– Flipkart (warned about by Nikon): Flipkart sells genuine products and our customers are entitled to the manufacturer warranty for such products. The original products carrying an official invoice and with all taxes paid cannot be denied warranties.

– Indiatimes Shopping: We are not selling products below purchase price and hence never faced issues of warranty refusal. On the contrary, we have strategic alignment with leading brands like Nokia, Godrej, Whirlpool, Hitachi, IFB, Kent, Samsung etc.

– Infibeam & Shopclues: No response

– Snapdeal (warned about by Lenovo, Dell, Nikon, HP, ASUS): As an online marketplace we provide a platform that connects sellers with customers who wish to purchase products online. The sellers selling online are retailers and distributors of the brand who typically sell offline too. The warranty from the brand which is applicable for the products purchased through these sellers offline should be applicable to customers purchasing them online as well.

Dell Amazon India

Question 2. What is the legal basis for you to offer manufacturer warranty when the manufacturer has revoked it (through press releases or on its website)?

– Amazon: No specific response to this question

– Ebay: All listings on ebay.in are created and originated by sellers and not by eBay India. eBay India acts as an intermediary that is committed to create a great shopping experience for its users and takes care to diligently protect the interest of its users. We have an ebay Guarantee programme which protects the buyer for claims such as ‘Item Not Received’ or ‘Items not as described,” provided the buyer provides valid, true and correct documents. In such scenarios, eBay India works with the buyer and the seller to ensure that the buyer either receives the product or a replacement from the seller. In the event the seller is unable to resolve in the matter, then eBay India verifies such claims and refunds the entire transaction amount including item price and shipping, to the buyer and recovers the amount from the seller. In a scenario where the listing by the seller is false / incorrect which leads to claims and/or negative feedback from buyers, then not only does it impact the seller standing on ebay.in, but can also lead to reduction / suspension of the seller’s business on eBay India.

– Flipkart: A customer can enforce such warranty conditions against the manufacturer (in case the manufacturer refuses to provide warranty) by seeking remedies under the Consumer Protection Act.

– Indiatimes Shopping: None of the major manufacturers have ever revoked warranty on the products sold through our platform.

– Infibeam & Shopclues: No response

Snapdeal: We are committed to providing customers a platform through which they can purchase genuine products with complete warranty. Customers do not have to worry while purchasing branded electronic products from the sellers on our platform as they are completely covered by our TrustPay policy in addition to the warranty offered by the manufacturer.

HP India Online Advisory

3. If a consumer does buy a product from your website but is later denied warranty by the manufacturer, what remedy does the customer have in case of a defective product?

– Amazon: No specific response to this question

– Ebay: In case a buyer claims manufacturer warranty for a product purchased from a seller on eBay India, the buyer is expected to coordinate with authorized service center of the manufacturer of the product to avail the warranty. eBay India provides necessary assistance to the buyers, including engagement with their sellers for appropriate resolution. Manufacturers denying honouring warranty on the ground that a consumer has not purchased their product from the authorized outlet of the manufacturer (even if such purchase falls within the warranty period) ultimately affects the interest of consumers.

– Flipkart: We have not faced any such instances till date where manufacturers have refused to honor warranties.

– Indiatimes Shopping: Till date, we have never faced an issue where a customer has complained of manufacturer warranty denial. This is because we sell products through fair means, without violating trade practice norms.

– Infibeam & Shopclues: No response

– Snapdeal: The cases we have come across are predominantly around assistance in finding the closest service center and help in steps to avail warranty service. Our customer care team is trained to assist consumers promptly with all such queries.

Nikon

Note: ShopClues and Infibeam did not participate in this Q&A, and Amazon India did not give any response to the specific individual questions we submitted, and gave a consolidated response which does not address some of the questions. The statement we received from Amazon:

“All products sold on Amazon.in through our sellers are genuine. All sellers listing their products on Amazon.in are required to enter an agreement to list and sell only genuine products. And sellers determine the prices of the products they sell. Additionally, Amazon.in also offers its A-to-Z Guarantee  to protect customers purchases. Under this we guarantee the condition of the item you buy and its timely delivery when you purchase from sellers on Amazon.in. However, A-Z is not applicable for manufacturing defects.”

They declined to comment further, even though we asked them for responses to individual questions.