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Online vendors association AIOVA issues trade notice against Flipkart

A technical glitch in Flipkart’s system is returning incorrect weight value, leading to weights being incorrectly recorded and charged to sellers (in form of shipping charges) at random instances, The All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) said in a trade advisory notice. Improper weight values lead to incorrect shipping and reverse shipping charge being billed to sellers, AIOVA added in its advisory.

Extracts from AIOVA’s advisory notice [pdf] to sellers:

“Dear Sellers, It has come to our notice that for orders between 20th June 2017 – 28th June 2017, Flipkart has charged incorrect weight due to some technical fault in their system…As a result of this, packets of 500 grams are being incorrectly recorded in higher labs like 15kg, 35 kg etc at random instances. Resulting higher charge of forward shipping and reverse shipping.”

“In this purview, it is suggested that sellers should reconcile order level weight charge data and escalate the same with Flipkart Support…Regular Reconciliation is always a suggested practice to mitigate the losses due to such unforeseen technical issues.”

The notice also comes at a time when AIOVA recently requested the government to institute a regulator for the e-commerce sector. The vendor’s association had demanded the govt to set grievance cell for online sellers similar to a consumer court, a competitive market that isn’t marred by monopoly or cartelization of any kind, and a set of accounting and auditing standards.

‘Such glitches are regular, govt needs to step in’: AIOVA

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An Economic Times report quotes AIOVA’s statement which read: “This is not a random occurrence or limited to a particular group of sellers. Nor has this happened for the first time. We have checked and verified data of multiple sellers based out of multiple locations and confirmed the glitch,” The seller association claimed that around 20 – 30% of a seller’s GMV could be impacted due to incorrect weight values.

The report also quotes Flipkart, which has confirmed the glitch and said that the wrong weight calculations occurred due to a “recent system upgrade”. The company has also claimed to have to initiated refunds to sellers. MediaNama has written to Flipkart seeking more details and will update the story once they respond.

AIOVA also alleged that such glitches are seen “regularly” in other marketplaces as well since there is no “third-party audit” of vendor payment sheets. “We have raised this demand with Government of India multiple times at various levels, however, as ecommerce marketplace reforms are not the priority of the government, vendors are losing money and marketplaces are wrongly making hidden profits,” the statement added.

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