The government on Monday asked online food business operators like Swiggy and Zomato to submit a proposal within 15 days to improve their consumer grievance redressal mechanism amid rising customer complaints. The Department of Consumer Affairs directed the e-commerce FBOs to “transparently show the consumers about all the charges included in the order amount like delivery charges, packaging charges, taxes, surge pricing etc.” Also Read – Swiggy Announces New Benefits For Swiggy One Customers Including Free Shipping & More
Swiggy, Zomato got 15 days notice from the government
According to an official statement, “The Department of Consumer Affairs has directed the major e-commerce food business operators (FBOs) to submit the proposal within 15 days to improve the existing framework as well as the consumer grievance redressal mechanism.” Also Read – After Zomato, Ola Launches 10-Minute Food Delivery Service in India; Swiggy also in line
The direction was given during a meeting chaired by Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh to discuss relevant issues affecting consumers in the sector with leading e-commerce food business operators. Also Read – Zomato, Swiggy hit in cities across India: Check details
Online food business operators including Swiggy and Zomato as well as NRAI participated in the meeting.
The department reported that during the last 12 months, “over 3,631 complaints have been filed for Swiggy on the National Consumer Helpline (1915) and 2,828 for Zomato”.
These platforms were directed to transparently show individual consumer reviews and refrain from showing only aggregations of reviews.
The major issues raised by the consumers on the National Consumer Helpline were discussed during the meeting.
These issues include “inconsistency in the correctness of the quantum of delivery and packing charges and the reasonableness of such charges, the disparity between the price and quantity of food items displayed on the Platform and the delivery times offered by the restaurant when actually placing an order.” The time of delivery and the time at which the order is actually placed, and the absence of any mechanism to differentiate genuine reviews from fakes,” the statement said.
The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) has raised the issue of non-sharing of customer information by e-commerce FBOs with restaurants, which affects their ability to better serve consumer needs.
In addition, delivery charges are determined and levied by the latter. In addition, online FBOs also charge a commission of about 20 percent on each order.
“It was emphasized that the right of choice for the consumer should be respected and e-commerce FBOs were advised to allow consumers to share their contact information with restaurants,” the statement said. Give, if consumers so desire.”
Additional Secretary Nidhi Khare and Joint Secretary Anupam Mishra also attended the meeting.
The e-commerce FBO observed that the prices of food items are fixed by the restaurants and they have a grievance redressal mechanism which has scope for improvement considering the number and nature of complaints filed by the consumers.
During the meeting, the stakeholders recognized the need to closely address consumer complaints and develop a robust grievance redressal framework.
He assured that the concerns raised in the meeting would be duly addressed and the proposed better and transparent framework would be shared with the department in 15 days, the statement said.
There were 803 complaints (22 per cent of the total 3,631) related to deficiency in services on the Swiggy platform. Non/delay in product delivery accounted for 17 per cent of the total complaints, while delivery of defective/damaged product was 13 per cent.
Incorrect product delivery and non-refundable amounts paid accounted for 11 percent each, of the total complaints.
Similarly, on the Zomato platform, deficiency in services contributed to 25 per cent of the total complaints followed by defective/damaged products (18 per cent), delayed/delayed delivery of the product (11 per cent), non-refund of amount paid (11 percent) and wrong product delivery (11 percent).
The department has taken several steps in the last few months to protect the interest of the consumers. It has asked restaurants not to charge service charges and will soon bring in a legal framework on the issue.
Consumer protection regulator CCPA on May 20 said it has issued notices to cab aggregators Ola and Uber for unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights. The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has given 15 days to the two companies to respond to the notices.
The department will soon hold a meeting with edtech firms such as Byju’s and Unacademy amid complaints these platforms had put additional study pressure on schools.
(with inputs from PTI)
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