Daraz slapped with Rs300,000 fine for wrong item deliveryThe online seller says the decision was made without allowing it to internally investigate or amicably resolve the issue.
The Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights has said it will move the court if the Department of Commerce fails to take appropriate action against online seller Daraz for wrong item delivery, forum president Prem Lal Maharjan said on Monday.
On February 3, the department had decided to penalise the online seller under the Consumer Protection Act 2018 after a shopper registered a complaint that they had sent a Force watch instead of a Mini Focus watch which he had ordered.
Maharjan said he had also registered a complaint against Daraz for delivering a portable hard disk with a broken cover. He said he filed the complaint after not getting a refund or a replacement.
Dipak Pokhrel, inspection officer at the department, said they took the decision to fine Daraz after concluding the firm was at fault.
But on Sunday, Daraz wrote to the department, asking a review of its decision to slap the Rs300,000 fine in response to a complaint regarding the delivery of an incorrect product.
“The decision has been made without allowing Daraz to internally investigate or amicably resolve the issue. Lack of disclosure, transparency, and the unusual publicity of these unfortunate and rare incidents have raised a question whether they have been deliberately orchestrated to defame the company,” Daraz had said in a press statement on Wednesday.
But Maharjan said they will wait for the department's decision on the letter sent by the company and that if the response is not satisfactory, they will move the court.
“It all depends on the response of the department’s director general,” Maharjan told the Post.
But Daraz has taken exception to the move of approaching the department without giving it ample time to respond as per its policy.
"Instead of contacting Daraz through its platform and initiating a seven-day easy return, the complainant reached out to the authorities directly," Daraz said in the press statement.
The department said it launched an investigation after receiving the complaint. But it first conducted an inspection at Daraz office in Naxal and then studied the documents before launching the investigation, according to department spokesperson Nokh Bahadur Bashyal.
“The company has the right to ask for a revision as per the law,” Bashyal told the Post. “The department will conduct additional studies and the director general will reach a decision accordingly,” he said.
“If the company is found guilty after the revision, it will have to pay the fine to the department,” Bashyal said.
Consumer rights activists argue that when an online seller acts as a middleman, it should assume responsibility for the quality, price and quantity. The Consumer Protection Act 2018 also states that any service-oriented company should accept liability, they say.
Daraz maintains that it is a marketplace for buyers and sellers, and is not responsible or liable for the actions, products and contents.
Consumers have many issues regarding the products, order and delivery when buying on Daraz. Many people have been venting their complaints regarding its services through social media.
Consumer rights activist accuse the government of not being able to take action against big companies despite their faults.
Madhav Timilsina, president of the Consumer Rights Investigation Forum, said that the government should not withdraw its decision but initiate action. “The company has asked for a revision to hide its mistake and to show that it is not wrong,” he said.
The government should not spare Daraz but take strict action against it, Timilsina said. He also raised a question regarding the operation of Daraz which is not according to company registration rules.