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What the Competition Commissions study on e-commerce marketplaces seeks to find out

A market study the Competition Commission of India, sent to all major e-commerce firms, seeks details on how inventory based models work, on pricing of products and control over the pricing, industry sources have told MediaNama, and Reuters also reports. These are all aspects that would challenge the claim of existing ecommerce marketplaces, that they are indeed only marketplaces and have no control over pricing and products. This is particularly interesting, because, the NCLAT admitted a petition filed by trade body AIOVA on May 21 which challenged the orders of CCI absolving Flipkart of unfair practices using its dominant position in November last year. The most important issues that the survey looks into 1. Inquiry into inventory management: Note that the ruling in a case from November 2018 between luxury fashion brand Christian Louboutin and a marketplace Darveys.com had identified certain benchmarks for determining whether a marketplace can claim to merely be an intermediary or not. The survey seeks more information on the following: Storage and product listing: The study seeks details on whether the ecommerce product marketplace provides storage or warehousing services, and the factors which impact product listing (advertising, click-through rates, marketplace private labels) on the marketplace. Counterfeit products, unauthorised sales and reporting mechanisms: They study seeks more details on reporting of unauthorised sales counterfeit products being sold on the platform, especially about whether customers and rights owners can report suspicious listings. Counterfeit products masquerading as authentic have been a cause for concern on even the most popular e-commerce…

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