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Online vendors want e-commerce regulator & grievance cell

The All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) wants the government to institute a regulator for the e-commerce sector, reports The Economic Times. Their demands include a grievance cell for online sellers similar to a consumer court, a competitive market that isn’t marred by monopoly or cartelisation of any kind, and a set of accounting and auditing standards. AIOVA currently has 2,583 registered members.

Last year, after Flipkart revised its return policy for buyers and increased commission rates, AIOVA and eSeller Suraksha, another online vendor association, had declared a strike against the e-commerce marketplace. The vendors had reportedly marked about 1 million SKUs (stock keeping units) as out-of-stock.

It’s not just e-commerce marketplaces, cab aggregators like Ola and Uber have also had to contend with a spate of driver protests and strikes over the past few months. Some Ola and Uber drivers in Telangana went on a strike against low earnings and demanded clearance of outstanding dues, in January this year. Later in the month, Ola and Uber driver in Bangalore threatened strikes and demanded the enforcement of the taxi aggregator rules introduced last year. They also protested the fact that the cab aggregators take a commission of 30% instead of the the mandated 10%. While, in March, Ola and Uber Drivers in Mumbai protested against surge pricing and low earnings.

Amazon damage allowance: Last month, Amazon India tried to address one of the several issues online vendors face by introducing a damage allowance scheme. It provides vendors an allowance to cover damages that could occur during transit. Currently, the allowance is given for products in apparel, shoes, watches and luggage category, but only vendors selling via Seller Flex are eligible for it. Thus far, sellers had to file a claim to recover part of the cost of the products getting damaged in transit.

Platforms such as Don’t Scratch Your Head, which is a SaaS-based logistics reconciliation platform for online sellers, lend some support. The company, which recently received $250,000 seed funding from Venture Catalysts, works with online sellers across several e-commerce marketplaces to reconcile accounts, payments, returned orders, and promotional amounts among others. DSYH claims to have reconciled over 500,000 orders so far.

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Also Read: Pharmacist body calls for nationwide bandh protesting online pharmacies

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