Electronics manufacturers including LG India, Daikin, Haier and Videocon are discouraging customers from purchasing electronics items such as TVs, washing machines, microwave ovens, fridges and ACs online (through ecommerce websites) since they might have to pay for installation, after sales service and repairs even when the product is under warranty, reports ET.
The report adds that online sales of electronics items through e-commerce sites account for less than 5% of the companies’ sales. However, smartphones account for 20% of their sales online. It adds that an unnamed offline dealer network said that it would resort to a complete clampdown of online sales this financial year. Interestingly, the report mentions that some of the products bought online could be imported and hence not eligible for warranty.
It went on to quote a Samsung official (not in an official capacity) who said that Samsung service centres charged customers who did not produce valid tax invoices. Daikin, the report added, said that since online sites and their associated sellers were disallowed from selling its products online and purchases made only through authorised dealers and representatives would be able to avail warranty.
The report added that LG India was considering partnering with e-commerce sites to sell only its smartphones online. LG had issued an advisory stating that the company would not be able to guarantee the originality of products on 3rd party websites.
Videocon stated that products bought from Snapdeal would not be eligible for warranty. Videocon also told ET that websites like Snapdeal were “undercutting prices and not following business terms”. However, Videocon has partnered with Amazon to sell its Kenstar products on the Amazon platform.
In November last year, Asus India said that it did not have a different warranty policy with respect to online shopping portals. It added that its post sales services were the same for both online or offline purchases. Asus India also mentioned that it did not intend to “portray online purchasing in bad light”.
In February last year, Lenovo and Toshiba had warned people against buying its products via e-commerce websites such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, by stating that they were not authorised resellers. It suggested that people should head over to one of the authorised Lenovo exclusive stores around the country or visit its e-commerce website TheDoStore, which it launched in 2013.
Flipkart had responded that customers buying Lenovo products would always get genuine products with warranty and other services, while Amazon had said that it was a neutral marketplace and did not determine prices. Amazon added that sellers were contractually obliged to list genuine products with manufacturer warranty across all brands. It said that it extended 100% customer protection with Amazon’s A-to-Z Guarantee for all products bought on Amazon.in.
In September 2013, Nikon India had issued a statement saying that Flipkart and Snapdeal were not its authorized partners/dealers. We had pointed out then that Flipkart and Snapdeal were not ‘partners’ or ‘dealers’ themselves, but the sellers on their platform could be. It did not matter whether the marketplace was an authorised partner for Nikon products when the seller could be authorised or unauthorised.
A similar issue had cropped up in 2013 when some retailers in Bangalore had written to the Competition Commission of India, alleging that e-commerce companies were engaging in predatory pricing in India.
Image Credit: Flickr user Jeff Keyzer