Gone are the days when companies could ship soap, or stone or a random assortment of stuff on well meaning online orders and get away with it. In what has proved to be a fiasco causing a major embarrassment to it, online retailer Snapdeal has been slapped a fine of INR 10,000 by the Consumer Court. The company has also received the order of shipping an iPhone for INR 68.
The case started when Nikhil Bansal, a Punjab University student, saw a listing of an iPhone 5S 16 GB for merely rupees 68. Obviously, he ordered the item in a matter of seconds and started waiting for it. However, the order was soon canceled by Snapdeal.
Now, this is exactly where most consumers would have let go of the case as something too good to be true. However, Nikhil knew that technically, the company should be honor bound to deliver what they promised. So, he filed a case against Snapdeal in the district consumer court in Sangrur.
The court summarily decided in his favor after listening to the arguments and ordered Snapdeal to ship the said iPhone for the promised rate — ₹68 — while also paying a fine of ₹2000. Snapdeal wasn’t willing to let go without a fight and appealed against the decision in the consumer forum — and lost again, and managed to raise the fine to ₹10,000.
So finally, Nikhil gets his iPhone at ₹68 and Snapdeal puts in ₹10,000 to the consumer welfare fund. The case should serve as a sharp rebuke to online retailers, who sometimes resort to similar — and other — shady tactics to attract customer attention and later, renegade on the deals they were initially offering.
More significantly though, Nikhil’s example shows that being aware of ones rights can yield sweet fruits — or even iPhones. There are functioning mechanisms to protect consumers against corporations, and being aware of them and using them when required, is very important.