Hyderabad: A consumer forum in Hyderabad directed e-commerce company Amazon to pay a customer Rs. 12,000 as compensation for tampering with the MRP and charging excess.

The customer, Khaja Hameed Hussain, purchased a book, Tarjuman-ul-Quran by Maulana Azad, through Amazon and paid Rs. 2,715 cash for it. However, after he received his order Mr Hameed was surprised when he saw the actual printed price of the book was Rs. 400. “I immediately contacted the Amazon seller and requested them to refund the excess amount. As per their direction, I also sent them an image of the price mentioned on the book cover. However, there was no further response from Amazon.”

Meanwhile, responding to the complaint filed by Mr Hameed at the consumer forum, Amazon denied its role. In a statement, it said, “We neither sell the book nor offer to sell any product. Amazon is only an online marketplace.” It further said it is only a facilitator and is not liable for the complaints against the sellers. The company also argued that the territorial jurisdiction of the forum is beyond the registered office of Amazon.

Listening to the arguments made by both parties, the forum, in its judgement, said, “The said act clearly comes under the definition of unfair trade practice for which Amazon is held liable for punitive damages.” Also, in response to Amazon’s argument regarding the territorial jurisdiction of the consumer forum, it said, “The bank statement of the complainant dated 11 February 2018 shows that an amount of Rs. 2,715 was paid to Amazon on 22 December 2017. Admittedly, the book was delivered to the complainant in Hyderabad for which part of the cause of action arose within the territorial jurisdiction of this forum.”

The forum ordered Amazon to refund Rs. 2, 315 collected in excess of the price printed on the book and further pay Rs. 10,000 towards punitive damages for the adoption of unfair trade practices.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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