E-commerce firms led by Flipkart have received the maximum number of consumer complaints on government's national helpline which helps redresses consumers' grievances. According to data from the consumer affairs ministry, one in every five complaints filed on the helpline was against e-commerce companies. Apart from e-commerce, banking and telecom sectors saw large numbers of grievances, said a report by The Economic Times citing data from the government. Of over 5 lakh complaints filed during the current financial year, e-commerce companies saw more than 1 lakh grievances against them.
41,600 complaints were lodged against banks with telecom sector receiving 29,400 complaints, the ET report said. In the previous financial year, over 100,000 complaints were received against e-commerce companies out of the 565,000 complaints.
Flipkart, Reliance Jio and Amazon and a public-sector bank have received the maximum number of complaints, the ET report quoted an official as saying.
A Flipkart spokesperson told the business daily the firm has a well-defined and continuously improving programme to help customers and address their complaints promptly.
"We endeavour to guide our new customers on how to navigate the Flipkart app, policies and terms and conditions. We also undertake several consumer education programmes that focus on driving awareness on safe e-commerce transactions," the spokesperson said.
Flipkart said its marketplace delivers almost 30 crore shipments a year to millions of customers throughout the country.
"Simultaneously, being a marketplace, we work closely with lakhs of our sellers/MSMEs on our marketplace to train them to ensure a better experience for our customers and by helping them focus on the quality of products." An Amazon spokesperson said the company works closely with the government consumer helpline desk to resolve complaints.
"We are committed to resolving all customer concerns expeditiously, including those received through the ministry of consumer affairs," the spokesperson said.
However, according to the report, Reliance Jio spokesperson was yet to reply to the queries over consumer complaints. The number of complaints has risen with the consumer base in the e-commerce sector witnessing strong growth.
"With four months still left, this year, we are likely to see a 40-50% spurt in number of grievances from last year," the official said.
Maximum complaints against ecommerce companies were related to fake products, issues in exchange and delayed delivery, while grievances against telecom companies were related to overbilling, data deduction and connectivity problems, the ministry official said.
"We have seen in many cases, a customer orders online for a cell phone but ends up receiving bricks or stones in the packet. Customers are duped like this," the official said.
The growing number of complaints from consumers has prompted the government to strengthen its grievance redressal mechanism. The consumer affairs ministry launched a mobile app in October to help consumers lodge their complaints easily and get resolution within 60 days. After receiving a complaint, the consumer affairs ministry sends it to the concerned firm, seeking resolution in a time-bound manner.