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Indian consumers affected by online counterfeiting

August 4, 2015

Indian governmentThe growth in online retail has been “accompanied by an increase in the number of counterfeit items”, including cartridges.

The Hindu reported on how the rising number of e-commerce stores in the Indian market has brought an “increase in the number of counterfeit items”, with consumers affected by the fake products purchased at lower prices. The site stated that “with the number of third-party sellers – who are independent sellers – blossoming on e-commerce sites” including Flipkart and Amazon, the number of counterfeit products “has also increased”.

One interviewee, Maya, ordered a printer cartridge listed at a “one-third discount” on such a site, and after the cartridge “malfunctioned”, she took it for repair at a service centre, where she was informed “the cartridge was faked”. Luckily, she was able to be “immediately compensated” after producing a document from the OEM “certifying the fake product”, but told The Hindu that “my confidence in online shopping has diminished since there is no background check on suppliers”.

The Recycler reported last week on a counterfeit seizure in Bangalore, as well as on a Mumbai cartridge dealer being arrested for selling pirated toner cartridges, and also reported on the arrest of Chetan Dinesh Gada, owner of Jalaram Computech, in March 2015, along with Rs three lakh’s ($4,727/€4,276) worth of fake cartridges. A cartridge dealer was also arrested in the city in January 2013, along with 6,000 counterfeit Epson cartridges.

Gada, mentioned above, was a Snapdeal vendor, with the site one of the many e-commerce sites that the rise in such products have come from. The Hindu contacted Amazon India and Flipkart for comment, with the former stating that “we take the issue of fake and counterfeit products being sold on our marketplace by sellers very seriously. Sellers sign an undertaking to sell only genuine and original products. For the first offence, the product is taken down while for repeat offenders, the sellers will be delisted”.

Flipkart meanwhile commented: “Sellers found violating guidelines are blacklisted from our platform […] we have a strict seller review/rating process in place along with on-ground teams carrying out quality checks. We also have mystery shoppers who are constantly monitoring sellers.”

The Hindu also spoke to advocate and cyber-crime expert Pavan Duggal, who stated that Section 79 of India’s Information Technology Act “pegs the responsibility of weeding out counterfeiting articles on the intermediary, which is the e-commerce website and third-party sellers”. This means that it is “up to the website to carry out due diligence while allowing third-party sellers to sell their items on their platform”, Duggal adding that the low number of cases brought against such sellers is due to “lack of proof” and the fact that “customers prefer fake articles due to the discounted prices”.

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