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CCI to probe e-tailers Amazon, Flipkart over alleged deep discounts

NEW DELHI: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has announced a probe against two major e-tailers, Flipkart and Amazon for alleged nexus with smartphone brands and selective sellers for deep discounting, exclusive treatments which could adversely affect the offline markets. The CCI has ordered its director-general to investigate the violations of Section 26 (1) of the Competition Act, 2002 and submit the findings within 60 days.

The CCI in its directive, a copy of which is with this publication said that on the basis of complaints filed by small and medium enterprises body, Delhi Vyapar Manch, the commission is probing the violations under various sections of the Competition Act 9 (2002) which has caused significant losses to the offline retailers.

“The informant has also alleged that Amazon and Flipkart have their own set of preferred sellers and that these preferred sellers have nexus with the e-commerce platforms either by way of direct or indirect ownership or some understanding. It is observed that there are only few online sellers, which are selling these exclusively launched smartphones either through Amazon or Flipkart.

Based on the evidence adduced by the informant and information available in the public domain, it can be prima facie inferred that there appears to be an exclusive partnership between smartphone manufacturers and e-commerce platforms for the exclusive launch of smartphone brands. Exclusive launch coupled with preferential treatment to a few sellers and discounting practices create an ecosystem that may lead to adverse effect,” it observed.