Snapdeal fined for misleading customers with iPhone 5s offer
An FDI regulation that prevents online marketplaces from influencing prices could not only help offline retailers, but also help Flipkart and Snapdeal catch up with Amazon. In picture: A worker of Indian e-commerce company scans barcode on a box after it was packed at the company's warehouse.Reuters

Snapdeal has made headlines for wrong reasons more than once, with instances like the controversial abduction case and customers getting bricks in packages. The online retailer has also been criticised for offering steep discounts on products by inflating the MRP value. But a recent practice to mislead customers caused some serious trouble for the company.

Nikhil Bansal, an engineering student from Sangrur, Punjab, won a legal argument against Snapdeal after the online retailer failed to honour a deal on iPhone 5s 16GB gold edition for Rs 68. The Sangrur District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, where the complaint was filed, dismissed the online retailer's defence that there had been a technical glitch in its system, and ordered to honour the deal and pay Rs 2,000 compensatory charges to Bansal, Gadgets360 reported.

Snapdeal fought the penalty charge, to which the District Consumer Forum raised the fine to Rs 10,000, for the consumer welfare fund.

Bansal had placed the order for the Rs 68 iPhone 5s on Snapdeal Feb. 12, but the order was cancelled soon after. After failing to get any response to his multiple emails, Bansal opted the legal route and a judgement was passed in his favour.

The ecommerce market is booming and online retailers like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon, among others, offer feasible solutions to vendors to sell their products. Several international vendors, especially from China, have found a substantial base in India to sell their products, such as smartphones, through exclusive partnerships with these retailers.

According to a recent report from market analysis firm IDC, the Chinese vendors' smartphone shipments to India increased by 71 percent in the October-December 2015 period, compared to the same quarter the previous year.