A group of small vendors supplying merchandise to the likes of Amazon and Flipkart are all game for fair competition and greater transparency in digital markets. They have approached the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to put in place strict norms so that e-commerce firms cannot change terms of business and suspend accounts arbitrarily. Further, they have sought the disclosure of all the advantages being granted to sellers on e-commerce platforms and the parameters being used to rank goods on the sites. The demand is on the lines of the European Union’s ‘digital single market’ which stipulates transparency laws and seeks to curtail sudden changes in business terms between the sellers and the marketplaces.
According to All India Online Vendors Association, the association representing over 3500 online seller, e-commerce platforms have a free hand to conduct their business which in effect leads to a number of issues being unresolved apart from businesses being affected due to unreasonable blacklisting, data glitches and absence of appealing and frequent change in policies. “We need ease of business while conducting business on platforms,” said the association in a statement.
Small and medium sellers have often complained about marketplaces giving preferential treatment to a few large sellers leading to unfair competition. DPIIT is said to be drafting a policy for the e-commerce sector and had recently prohibited online marketplaces and their group companies from owning vendors or controlling inventory sold on their platforms.