Cashbacks and discounts on e-commerce sites distort level-playing field: Retailers Association of India

The RAI says that cashback and discounts on e-commerce sites should be treated as influencing selling price.Retailers Association of India (RAI) has said that cashback or the money-back guarantee offers made by marketplace e-commerce players should be treated as influencing the selling price. In a letter to Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, RAI said with the objective of ensuring a level playing field for all channels of retail in India, the ministry should come out with certain clarifications so that there is no violation in the implementation of the spirit of the policy.
It said that since the guidelines forbid marketplaces from participating in pricing directly or indirectly, all discounts, coupons, vouchers be offered by the individual seller. “These should not be issued by the marketplace. Thus, a basket level discount/cash back would have to be restricted to the basket/order of each seller and not at a consolidated level,” it said.
“Cashback/money back guarantee offered by a marketplace should be considered tantamount to influencing selling price,” the association added. It also said that consolidated orders covering multiple sellers should not be permitted.
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“Considering that no seller should be having more that 25 percent share on the market place, the marketplace must file monthly disclosure with relevant (Enforcement Directorate) authority, giving details,” it added.
RAI also said that a full seller profile, including tax registration details, contact numbers, PAN numbers should be available on the online platform and accessible to consumer. “Marketplaces be made responsible for vetting the genuineness of sellers listed on the platform and the authenticity of their contact details to protect consumer interest in cases where the products turn our faulty/fraudulent,” it added.

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