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Snapdeal is inflating MRPs for discounts: CERC

Conducted by Ahmedabad-based Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), the body has now urged the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) to ensure that Snapdeal withdraws all products with incomplete labelling and inflated prices.

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Snapdeal is inflating MRPs for discounts: CERC
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In its bid to be competitive, according to a new study, online portal Snapdeal is giving discounts disproportionate to its competitors, displaying higher MRPs to inflate discounts, and many of its cosmetics products do not show an expiry date.

Conducted by Ahmedabad-based Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), the body has now urged the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) to ensure that Snapdeal withdraws all products with incomplete labelling and inflated prices. It has also called for a recall of products already sold to consumers along with compensation for purchase of potentially harmful products. It also seek that the company be mandated to have a transparent policy for selection of vendors and products, and take strict action against vendors violating the policy.

According to a survey by CERC, price of one unit of hair oil on Nykaa is Rs. 432 whereas on Snapdeal, two units are available for Rs. 279, indicating a 68 per cent discount. "This raises doubts whether the product is original or counterfeit."

There are reports that vendors are selling similar-looking but fake products online through different portals. In the interest of the consumer, an investigation into the product is necessary," said Pritee Shah, chief general manager of CERC.

Highlighting another case, CERC said that a shower gel of a particular brand on Snapdeal is priced at Rs 469 after a discount of 57 per cent on an MRP of Rs 1,095. However, the same product was sold at a much lower rate of Rs 325 on the brand's official website. "It is very likely that the customer is not going to cross-check MRPs. They are taking the customers for a ride," said Shah.

Moreover, products like lipsticks, kajals, and shower gels do not have expiry dated on the packaging — a mandatory requirement. "Use of expired cosmetics or personal care products can cause serious skin and health issues. Often, the picture of product is not consistent with the description," added Shah.

Snapdeal, when presented with the report, told DNA that it has taken note of the instances highlighted by CERC and will be investigated, adding that all vendors are required to comply to relevant laws. A company spokesperson said, "To prevent sale of fake products, Snapdeal works closely with brands to make it simple to report any instance of counterfeits that may get listed on our marketplace. As per latest regulations on packaging, it has provided required fields to be filled by the sellers. However, In the case of a marketplace based model of e-commerce, the seller or manufacturer is responsible for the correctness of such declarations."

CERC COMPLAINS

The body has now urged the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) to ensure that Snapdeal withdraws all products with incomplete labelling and inflated prices. 

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