You have ordered a cosmetic item of a well-known brand through a popular e-commerce portal
and you are happy to get it at a lowest price in the market. But beware! Before you beautify your eyes, cheeks or lips, check the products whether they are genuine or counterfeits.
The booming e-commerce sector has become an easily available platform to unload inferior and counterfeit items by some unscrupulous traders in the absence of strict regulations and quality control mechanism, feel experts. Counterfeit branded items are making the rounds in online market places with apparels, electronic goods, household items, consumer durables, consumables and cosmetic items becoming easy targets for such elements due to their overwhelming demand.
Recently, there has been a report regarding the arrest of a few suppliers of a leading multi-brand online market place for selling counterfeit cosmetic items of a well-known multi-national brand to consumers. The arrests were made on the basis of complaints lodged by consumers, the firm and the e-commerce company. In a similar incident, a popular printer manufacturer too faced counterfeit issue recently with its vigilance cell cracking a counterfeit ink manufacturing unit in Mumbai and guided the police to arrest the culprits. These inks were marketed through online mode all over India.
Reacting to counterfeits which rule online market places, Samba Moorthy,
Vice President (Sales and Marketing) of Epson India,
the leading printer brand in India, says, "E-commerce companies should choose only authorised dealers to sell branded items. These channel partners have licenses from respective manufacturers to sell their products through offline and online modes. E-commerce firms should also check the veracity of such dealerships from respective brands to further filter bogus and unauthorised sellers from entering into online market space."
Echoing Moorthy's view, Bhaskar Venkatraman, CEO and Founder of E-commerce firm JusTransact.com, which sells branded Point Of Sale (POS) technology products such as barcode scanners and printers, touch POS, mobile POS and thermal receipt printers, etc to retail and non-retail businesses, says, "E-commerce firms, instead of boasting on their number of products and sellers, should focus on quality and customer satisfaction to stay afloat. For branded items, only authorised dealers should be encouraged to sell them to customers. This will bring down counterfeits and claims of receiving sub-standard products. As their credibility and brand image are at stake, these firms should be extra cautious in choosing sellers, install fool-proof checking system till last-mile and adopt zero-tolerance policy on counterfeits."
As reports of cheating consumers through different kinds of online frauds are making headlines, it is time e-commerce firms make efforts to scuttle counterfeits through strict checking procedures, fix up accountability and bring in more radical changes in policies while selecting sellers and products. After all it is the question of their credibility and trust on which they stand firm serving millions of customers daily.