People are generally aware that online shopping portals are minting huge amount of money. Many of these shopping websites (which I will not name) indulge in cheating the customers. This cheating may be through false advertisement, substandard product, defective product or were after sales services. Let us see what legal aspects are involved when we shop online and also study how online shopping websites cheat consumers.
The first thing to know is that if I’m a consumer based in Chandigarh and I am surfing and online shopping website, then the services are being delivered in Chandigarh. And therefore even though such online website is based in, say Mumbai, the consumer courts in Chandigarh have jurisdiction to entertain any consumer complaint which I make against such online shopping website.
Let us assume that I want to buy a laptop. I go to a famous online shopping website in India and check out the laptops. Several laptops are displayed and I choose one of them. The price of that particular laptop written on this website is Rs. 70,000 and it gives me 17% discount. After discount this comes out to be Rs. 58,100. And therefore I purchase this laptop thinking that I’m getting a heavy discount on this online shopping website.
When this laptop is delivered in Chandigarh at my place, I open the package and find out that the maximum retail price of this laptop is Rs. 60,000. Maximum retail price means that the price of the product cannot be more than Rs. 60,000. This includes all types of taxes. Now the online shopping website has shown me the price of 70,000 of a product whose maximum retail prices Rs. 60,000. Although the real sale is taking place at a price below Rs. 60,000, but still the online shopping website is engaged in false advertisement of this product. This is because the real discount can only be given only on maximum retail price. Therefore the discounted figure after 17% discount on the 60,000 should be Rs. 49,800.
In other words there is a difference of Rs. 8300 into discounted prices. This is the money which the online shopping website has made illegally by showing price above the maximum retail price. This is a very clever way of cheating a consumer.
Generally consumers are not aware of this law. Now the question arises what is the remedy which is available to me? I have purchased a laptop and I have been cheated. What should I do? Since I’m based in Chandigarh and the product has been delivered in Chandigarh, may remedy lies in filing a consumer complaint under consumer protection act in the consumer disputes redressal forum in sector nineteen, Chandigarh. I will have to show that I have been misguided by the online shopping website because of the price displayed on the website which was more than maximum retail price. Further I will have to show that there was false advertisement that I was getting a discount of 17% on maximum retail price or a price less than that. If I’m able to show that, the consumer forum shall award may compensation and litigation expenses et cetera.