What To Do If You Get A Wrong Item Delivered?

Law
25-Jun-2024
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In today's world, nothing can be more frustrating than receiving the wrong item or product from an online platform, and the company denying you its replacement or giving you back the product price. Nowadays, everyone is purchasing goods from the comfort of their living room rather than from a physical store, due to convenience being provided. E-commerce provides consumers with unlimited options of goods and services virtually, along with price comparison and discount features.

Technology has come a long way when it comes to online shopping, however, with the convenience, we have also faced certain problems while shopping online. The most difficult process of online ordering is returning the product or refunding the product, in the event, you have received the wrong product. In today's times, being fooled by scammers or falling prey is not a rare event wherein online shopping has become another usual norm. Many times, we receive the wrong products from the company and want to return them or get a refund. However, many times, this process becomes tiresome and irritating because the company neither returns the wrong item delivered nor refunds the money paid for it in advance. In such a scenario, the consumer feels betrayed and fooled and wants to take legal action against the company but most of us are unaware of the process, of how it should be done.

Fortunately, there are legal protections and rights available to the consumers to address their issues and assert storage of their rights and money.

Know Your Rights When Dealing with Wrong Item Delivery

In India, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 aim to safeguard consumers purchasing online. The Act covers goods and services bought or sold electronically and establishes the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to oversee and enforce consumer rights. These regulations ensure fair treatment, protect against wrong deliveries, and promote trust in e-commerce, boosting India's digital commerce landscape.

  • Right to Redressal

Right to Redressal is a mechanism to address grievances of the aggrieved consumer under the Consumer Protection Act 2019. It provides the consumer a basic right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices for defective goods and deficit services that also include receiving a wrong item through e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, etc.

  • Right to Compensation

The right to Compensation is a natural remedy upon the occurrence of unfair trade practice it is provided with the aim to rectify the harm caused to the consumer through financial loss. The compensation also involves non-financial losses such as inconvenience, time spent on customer service, and emotional distress caused due to the wrong delivery of the product.

  • Right to Information

The right to Information is the most basic right that is guaranteed by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, to protect the interest of the consumers. Consumers have a right to receive a correct and detailed description of the products or services that they are purchasing. This should include specifications, features, dimensions, raw materials, and any other relevant information that would help the consumers to make an informed decision. Further, the consumers should also be informed about the total cost of the product or service involved in the product including taxes, shipping fees, or any other additional charges involved in a product and there shouldn't be any hidden charges involved in the price of the product.

Immediate Steps to Take When You Receive the Wrong Item

Whenever you have received any wrong or incorrect item or good due to online shopping certain immediate and decisive action should be taken to resolve the issue effectively and swiftly. Here are certain steps that should be taken to identify the problem and to consider the regulations mentioned:

  • Documentation - Taking clear photos or videos of the wrong item received or packaging, or of any label or documentation that came with it, will serve as evidence when you raise the complaint.
  • Order Confirmation - Always verify the order confirmation email received to ensure that the item that you have received does not match with the order placed and any discrepancies in product specification should be pointed out clear clearly.
  • Customer Support - You should immediately contact the customer support of the e-commerce platform from where you have ordered your product and use the designated communication channels provided on their website to seek a dispute resolution. A clear and concise explanation of the situation should be given to the customer support representative and envisaging all the details of the purchase including the order number of the item received and how it differs from the product you have ordered.
  • Resolution Options - You can ask for various resolution options as available on the website which include replacement of the product, refund of the product, or compensation for any inconvenience cost. Post the initial contact, a follow-up with the return communication summarising the discussion including attachments of any supporting documents related to the issue should be shared with the company.
  • Understanding Policies - One should get familiarised with the e-commerce platform’s policies on returns, refunds, and dispute resolution as outlined in the Consumer Protection Rules 2020 and should ensure that the proposed resolution of the e-commerce platform is aligned with the rules and policies displayed on the website.

Legal Action if the Seller Denies Replacement or Refund

Filing a Complaint with the Seller

Every e-commerce platform has its procedure for filing complaints regarding wrong deliveries or refunds. Under the Consumer Protection Rules 2020, marketplaces must provide a separate ticket or complaint number for each issue, enabling users to track their complaint status. These rules aim to boost consumer confidence in e-commerce and protect consumer rights across all business models. Here are some steps that you can take to file a complaint:

  1. Document all the communication records and proof of purchase as evidence of the transaction and the item you originally ordered.
  2.  Draft and file a complaint on the complaint redressal system of the e-commerce entity website along with the proof documents. If the issue is not being resolved in the system, send them a proper formal complaint at their mail address. Also, give them a chronology of your attempts to resolve the issue.
  3. Refer to the seller’s policies on return, replacement, or refunds and ensure your complaint is aligned with the stated procedures.
  4. Specify to the e-commerce entity what remedy you are seeking along with a deadline.
  5. Allow some time for the seller to respond to your complaint and take follow-ups if no response is received within a specified time frame.
  6. Consider consulting professional legal advice from a consumer court lawyer and seek alternative dispute resolution by escalating the matter to consumer dispute redressal forums or consumer courts by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

Approaching Consumer Forum or Nearest Consumer Court

Approaching consumer forums or Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions is the ultimate option left to the aggrieved consumer if their concern is not resolved by the e-commerce entity. Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions are quasi-judicial bodies established under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 in India and are categorized into three-tier based on the value of the goods and services in dispute:

  • District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission – They take cognizance of the disputes where the value of the goods or services does not exceed INR 1,00,00,000.
  • State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission – They take cognizance of the disputes where the value of the goods or services exceeds INR 1,00,00,000 but does not exceed INR 10,00,00,000.
  • National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission – They take cognizance of the disputes where the value of the goods or services exceeds INR 10,00,00,000.

To file a complaint with a consumer forum:

  • Prepare Your Complaint: Draft a formal complaint addressing it to the President of the respective Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. Include your name, address, details of the seller, description of the issue, and specify the relief sought (e.g., replacement or refund). Ensure you correctly identify the jurisdiction based on the value of the product or services involved.
  • Submit Your Complaint: Apply along with the requisite fees and supporting documents to the appropriate authority. Obtain an acknowledgment from the commission as proof of the successful submission of your complaint.


You can file a consumer complaint online through the Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. For detailed guidance, refer to this blog on how to lodge a consumer complaint online:

Preventive Measures for Future Purchases from Online Stores

  • As a general rule, approach all the online orders with caution and do your own due diligence before ordering especially from local or small size businesses.
    Understand how the seller has priced the item and what shipping process the sellers will adopt.
  • Read the return, replacement, or refund procedure provided by the seller on their website along with the timelines.
  • Check if any hidden cost is there before you make the payment for the goods or services.

Conclusion

Lack of trust in goods and their suppliers was one of the main reasons why people did not opt for online shopping earlier. However, with the widespread of the internet and usage of smart devices have pushed us to shop online. Even though it has provided new opportunities for consumers, it has also made them vulnerable to unethical trade practices. Introduction of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, and The Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 have tried to regularise the process and make it more stringent. There is no denying the fact that people show confidence in online shopping when it is done safely and securely.

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