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Online sellers seeks changes for ecommerce sector

Update On :07 September 2016

Online sellers seeks changes for ecommerce sector

Online sellers are seeking policy changes and the establishment of a regulator for the ecommerce sector to prevent issues such as the pending payments from troubled ecommerce platform AskMeBazaar. 

Members of the All India Online Vendors' Association, a group of retailers selling on ecommerce platforms, raised the issue during a meeting with Union Commerce and Industries Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday. 

They secured the meeting following a Twitter campaign to discuss defaults by ecommerce platforms. Vendors and employees of AskMe-Bazaar, which has suspended operations because of a funding crunch, have protested alleging that the company owes them about Rs 300 crore. 

Last week, vendors of AskMeBazaar approached the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police to register a case against the ecommerce site. They also named the top management of its promoter, the Malaysia-based Astro Group that owns 98.5% of the company, in their complaint. 

"We raised demands for some policy changes and clarifications on ecommerce, as well as the setting up of a regulatory body, during the meeting with the commerce minister," an AIOVA spokesman said, adding that hundreds of sellers on AskMeBazaar had dues outstanding. "We need security that the money collected by ecommerce platforms on our behalf will be reimbursed to us." 

A commerce ministry official privy to the discussions said the department was in the process of trying to understand how to deal with such issues in the ecommerce sector. "The problem with ecommerce is that there is no set precedent so far since this whole space is new. We are in the process of setting these precedents, be it about consumer complaints or issues such as these.". 

The official, who did not want to be identified, also said the Ministry of Corporate Affairs was the right agency to take up the matter related to AskMeBazaar. Sitharaman "spoke to the Secretary of the Corporate Affairs Ministry, Tapan Ray, who assured her that the matter would be taken up on an urgent basis," the official said. Ray was unavailable for comment. 

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