Amazon found guilty of ‘unfair trade practice’ for withdrawing an offer for sale of laptop after allotting a confirmation receipt
The Odisha State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission found Amazon India guilty of ‘unfair trade practice’ for withdrawing an offer for sale of laptop at Rs. 190/- after allotting a confirmation receipt.
The President of the Commission, Dr. DP Choudhury, thus ordered the company to pay an amount of Rs. 40,000/- as compensation to the Complainant.
The Commission noted that,
“When there is advertisement made for offer placed the OP who is a reputed Online Shopping Website and made offer as per the materials available on record and the complainant placed the order and same has been confirmed, the agreement is complete between the parties. Had there been cancellation before receipt of conformation, the matter would have been considered otherwise.“
Brief facts of the Case
In the year 2014, Supriyo Ranjan Mahapatra (Complainant), a law student, came across an offer on Amazon India website for a laptop for Rs 190 as against the product’s original price of Rs 23,499.
He placed the order for the same and also received an e-mail confirmation of his order having been successfully placed with an assurance that the product would be delivered soon.
After few hours later, he received a phone call from Amazon’s customer care department stating that his order stands cancelled because of ‘pricing issues’.
He contended that the same was a breach of specific performance of the contract and in spite of several efforts to contact customer care through their helpline and e-mail; he did not receive any reply and was obligated to send a legal notice on January 17, 2015, but that too was ineffective.
He then moved the District Consumer Forum, that held the company guilty of deficiency in service and allowed the complaint in part by directing it to pay compensation of Rs. 10,000/- and litigation cost of Rs. 2,000/-.
He then reached the State Commission seeking enhancement of compensation, on grounds of mental agony. He submitted that he immediately required a laptop to finish a project, and owing to Amazon’s unfair trade practice he was compiled to purchase another laptop.
Also, he insisted that punitive damages must be imposed on the company so it does not endeavor in such illegal activities in the future.
The Commission dismissed the argument of Amazon that the agreement was with a third party and that it was not privy to the contract between the student and the laptop retailer.
The Commission noted that when the concerned seller was allowed at the e-commerce website’s platform, the latter’s responsibility cannot be lost sight of.
“Before floating an offer, the OP [Amazon] should have considered whether he was able to decide to issue the advertisement and after the contract is completed, it has no business to go away from the promise,” the Commission said..
The Commission allowed the appeal and ordered Amazon to pay Rs. 30,000/- for causing mental agony and harassment to Mahapatra, Rs. 10,000/- towards punitive damages, and Rs. 5,000/- towards the cost of litigation. Additionally, it was directed to pay Rs. 5,000/- as costs.
[ Amazon found guilty of ‘unfair trade practice’ for withdrawing an offer for sale of laptop after allotting a confirmation receipt ]