In the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Uttarakhand, Dehradun First Appeal No. 213 of 2013 Petitioner Ebay India Pvt. Ltd. Respondent Ajay Kumar Date of Judgement 6th February 2014 Bench Hon’ble Mr. Justice B.C Kandpal (President); Mr. C.C.Pant (Member)
The Hon’ble State Commission has held that E-Shopping site role is like a retailer and is liable for any loss caused to the consumer.
Facts of the Case:
The complainant ordered for a Samasung 4GB Micro SD Card from opposite party on 11th March 2012 and made payment of Rs. 135/- through the debit card. The complainant makes an allegation that according to the rules of the opposite party, if the order has not been delivered to the customer within specified time, the customer could ask for refund of that amount. The card did not reach the complainant till 19.03.2012; therefore, complainant had sent an e-mail to the opposite party to refund the amount. On 23.03.2012, the opposite party rejected the complainant’s refund request through e-mail on reason of proof of Delivery Verified. The complainant sent various letters to the opposite party for refunding his amount, but the opposite party didn’t refund the amount to the complainant. Hence complainant files a consumer complaint before the District Forum, Haridwar on the grounds of deficiency in service on the part of the respondents. On 26.06.2013 District Forum passed an order directing the respondent party to pay the complainant a sum of Rs. 23,135/- within a month from the date of the order.
Respondent party files an appeal under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the said order.
Whether the role of the E-Commerce site / intermediary is limited and they has no control over the sale of the product.
Arguments in favour of Appellant:
a. Appellant carries business of providing online platform and operates a website with the address www.ebay.in, website acts as an intermediary under the Information Technology Act, 2000 between the buyer and a seller.
b. The role of the appellant is limited to simplify and has no control over the sale of the product.
Arguments in favour of the Respondent’s:
a. Respondent repeated the facts of the case and argued in support of the impugned order.
Mr. C.C. Pant Observed
“When we compare this mode of marketing with the traditional marketing system comprising a chain of retailer, wholesaler, distributor and manufacturer, then the appellant can be put at par with a retailer in cyber marketing or e-shopping system. If a consumer purchases some product from a retailer and finds it defective or of inferior quality, then the retailer cannot shrug off his shoulders and cannot escape from his responsibility towards the consumer, merely by saying that it is the manufacturer, who has manufactured such product. It is also the duty of the retailer to sell such products, which are not defective and if a product is found defective, then he should replace it with non-defective product or refund its cost to the consumer. So, is the case with e-shopping or cyber marketing? Thus, the appellant’s role is like a retailer and he is liable for any loss caused to the consumer, if the product ordered by him was not delivered. In the instant case, the appellant has failed to prove that the respondent had received the product which he had ordered. Therefore, the appellant should have refunded the cost of the product in time, but the appellant did not do so till yet. The appellant is liable to pay compensation to the respondent for mental and physical agony he has suffered. The Commission allowed the appeal partly and ordered passed by the District Forum, Haridwar in consumer complaint No. 182 of 2012 is modify by reducing the amount to Rs. 5,000/-“
Hence, it is concluded that the role of e-shopping sites is like a retailer, if any product/goods are defective or of inferior quality e-shopping sites are liable for that. Further, e-shopping sites are also liable for any loss caused to the consumer as he cannot shrug off his shoulders and cannot escape from the responsibility towards the consumer.
Edited by Sree Ramya
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
 Section 2(1)(w) of Information Technology Act, 2000.