Looks to gain understanding of the issue

The Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) has sent out a call to nearly thirty IT associations for a general meeting next month that will, among other things, look to get a better understanding of some of the online pricing issues that channel partners and physical traders face.

The problem of online retailers selling below cost has seen, in recent times, several offline retailers taking their counterparts to court.

Legal notices

For instance, anti-virus software firm Quick Heal recently served legal notices on e-tailer Flipkart for the “unauthorised display and sale of the company’s products.”

It argued that Flipkart’s discounts and offers were hurting the company’s brand and that the online retailer didn’t have the authorisation to display and sell the company’s products. A Pune civil court later passed an order, asking Flipkart to stop selling the company’s products, which Flipkart complied with.

When contacted, a Flipkart spokesperson said the company did not have a comment to offer at the time.

More recently, a group of offline retailers banded together and wrote to the Competition Commission of India, saying that e-commerce companies were undercutting them with predatory pricing. MAIT, as an industry body for IT hardware, is looking to get an initial understanding of the situation.

General meeting

“Some of the channel partners and traders have expressed concern that the market operating price (MOP) is not adhered to when it comes to online business. There are issues where after selling a certain product to somebody, the trader will find the same product listed for sale on an online website for a cheaper price,” said Anwar Shirpurwala, Executive Director, MAIT.

“This is not about offline trade versus online trade. This will be a general meeting, where this will be one issue,” he added.

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