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Online buyer gets money back for wrongly advertised goods

By Adv. Jatin Ramaiya

Adv. Gurudatt R Mallya, Pajifond- Malbhat approached the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, South Goa, alleging deficiency in service and sale of defective goods by online giant Flipkart and Digital Enterprises, Bangalore.  The advocate in his complaint said that through Flipkart he purchased a “Panasonic PAKXTG8051 cordless landline phone with answering machine for Rs 3,370.

Mallya in his complaint stated that, Flipkart had not said that the device was sold by third party vendors nor did the web portal put up any disclaimers stating that it is not the vendor of the product and is not responsible nor liable for attributes and quality of the product. Mallya in his complaint claimed that upon receipt of the parcel delivered by Flipkart and opening the package it was seen that the device was a plain digital phone without an answering machine facility.

He pointed the same out to Flipkart however, the online portal refused to refund the money. It was further pointed out that,  Flipkart sent a replacement which however as predicted was a phone without an answering machine which was refused by Mallya. He  pleaded that, the offer and description made of a telephone cum answering machine on the website, and the invoice seeking to pass of the device as a phone having an answering machine, which was not so amounts to gross misrepresentation and despite follow ups Flipkart failed perform its obligations.

Mallya prayed that his complaint be allowed and that Flipkart and Digital Enterprises be directed to refund Rs 3,370 along with interest thereon at the rate of 18 per cent per annum compounded with quarterly interest from October 21 2017 till payment and upon payment of the said sum and interest, to take away the said device. He further prayed for damages of Rs 50,000.

Upon admission of the complaint notices were issued both to Flipkart and Digital Enterprises. Flipkart filed its reply to the complaint. However, Digital Enterprises did not respond to the complaint. The members of the Forum after considering the material partly allowed the complaint filed by the Adv. Mallya whilst holding, “the product ordered and what was delivered was totally contrary to what was advertised and ordered.” It was further held that “Although it is the case of the complainant that the opposite party no.1 (Flipkart) should be held liable for gross misrepresentation, however, it is imperative to point out that the terms of use and conditions, exonerate the Opposite Party no.1 of all liability. Besides the invoice itself does mention the name of the seller and the registered address and it is the seller who would be liable for gross misrepresentation.” The Consumer Forum through its members Cynthia Colaco held that “the complainant has proved that this is a case of gross misrepresentations done by Opposite Party No. 2 on the website of Opposite party No.1. The Complainant is entitled to be refunded the amount paid by him to the Opposite Party no.2 through the Opposite Party no.1 along with interest.” Finally the Forum directed Digital Enterprises i.e. the vendor of the machine to refund the amount paid by Adv. Mallya and further pay compensation of Rs 5,000 towards compensation.

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