Offline smartphone retailers urge Piyush Goyal to set up body to monitor wrongdoing

Offline smartphone retailers have reached out to the commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal urging him to set up a monitoring body to control the “unfair and unethical business practices by smartphone brands and online portals.”

The All India Mobile Retailers’ Association (AIMRA) has also objected to unethical practices of fellow retailers who are buying bulk stocks from online and further selling it from their stores without billing and paying GST.

It said that phone brands are aware of this ‘cartel’ wherein more than 60% of online stocks come into the market through aggregators and wholesalers to the small retailers without a bill.

“Press Note 2 or upcoming would be a piece of paper without any monitoring body which we have been demanding for the last 6 years through letters and tweets,” said Arvinder Khurana, president, AIMRA in a letter dated April 1, seen by ET.

He is referring to the draft e-commerce policy which is expected to be released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) this month.

AIMRA has cited the examples of top smartphone brands like Xiaomi and Oppo accusing them of deep discounting, exclusivity, preferential sales and instant cash backs offered for online purchases.

“They (Xiaomi) have very deftly managed to dodge the government because 90% of the sales (of its latest Redmi Note 10 series) are happening online and 10% through the Xiaomi franchise but they have not billed to general retailers,” Khurana said.

Oppo has played a similar strategy with its Oppo F19 Pro series, retailers say.

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Xiaomi has vehemently denied all allegations and said, “We have always strived to maintain a 50:50 product distribution ratio between offline and online channels,” the company spokesperson said.

She added that the Redmi Note 10 series smartphones are currently being sold across Mi studios, Mi stores and Mi preferred partners and with the same prices and discounts.

Oppo did not respond to ET’s query till press time.



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