Flipkart Tells Indian Court It Can Offer Lower Fee

Walmart’s Flipkart sees nothing wrong in offering to cut charges for sellers on its platform if they lower product prices, its lawyer told an Indian court on Monday, June 21, reported Reuters.

Flipkart and Amazon are in a court battle against the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) bid to restart an investigation into their business practices, after a judge in early June dismissed the companies’ pleas.

Both Flipkart and Amazon have for years battled accusations from brick-and-mortar Indian retailers that they bypass the foreign investment law by favoring some sellers and influencing prices of products, which are prohibited. The companies state that they comply with all laws.

Arguing against the resumption of the antitrust investigation, Flipkart’s counsel Harish Salve told a two-judge bench in the southern state of Karnataka that he sees nothing wrong in telling the sellers of Flipkart marketplace that they will be charged a lower fee if they reduce their prices.

Referring in particular to the Hindu festival of Diwali when websites organize sales, he added, “I tell my sellers at a time like Diwali if you reduce your prices, I will give you a reduction in rent. What’s wrong?”

The comments drew immediate criticism from the Confederation of All India Traders, which is party to the ongoing litigation opposing the e-commerce giants, claiming the practices were prohibited under India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) rules.

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