Flipkart scam, Flipkart hoax, Flipkart fraud, Flipkart cheating. These are some of the inventive catch-phrases floating around the web and in social media. As internet users debate over whether Flipkart actually does sell fake products, here’s a question to you, dear customer. Have you dug deep enough to find out if these allegations are true? We understand if you haven’t. It’s natural for you to be reactive in cases like this. And it’s certainly not up to you to go looking for the root cause behind these contagious claims. This article, therefore, answers the question that has been troubling you — and us. It also sets the record straight that we at Flipkart aren’t just sitting on our hands about this problem. We’re taking your concerns seriously.
Read ahead to understand how Flipkart addresses your concerns regarding fake products.
Social media timelines and internet discussion forums are abuzz with complaints and angry conversations questioning the authenticity of certain products sold on online shopping sites. Questions are raised every day about fake products, counterfeit merchandise, and imitations of original branded products (read our educational article on how to avoid buying fake perfumes).
Frustration is brewing around how online marketplaces like Flipkart are allegedly ignorant about the quality of products sold on their platforms. Flopkart, Fakekart and Fraudkart are the internet memes that are doing the rounds. While we appreciated your creativity and even shared a laugh with you, we got down to serious business. Even before these issues were brought to our notice, we began a deep and penetrating investigation into the truth. Were sellers on Flipkart really selling fake products?
What constitutes fake products?
Before delving into the subject of online fake products, it is important to understand what accounts for ‘fakes’. A popular online definition for fake elaborates it as ‘not genuine; imitation or counterfeit’. Beyond the literal definition, what does this mean in relation to products that you see online?
The profusion of fake products is one of the biggest challenges of the online retail industry. Typically, these products appear to be genuine but are in fact low quality imitations that their some manufacturers attempt to pass off as the original branded products. To a customer shopping online, the displayed images might appear to be as good as the originals. The images and description may imitate the original brand attributes — the logo, packaging and trademarks may appear no different. The hapless online shopper may find it difficult to differentiate them.
We understand that these ‘duplicate products’ not only tarnish the reputation of big brands, but also end up hurting the customer both financially and emotionally. So there’s one thing that you should know: An online seller, if found promoting fake products on Flipkart, is immediately blacklisted and suspended from selling on the site.
How can you spot a fake product online?
Let’s face it. Detecting a fake product while shopping online is not an easy task, especially when you are on a shopping spree or shopping during a sale. If you are unsure about a product and sense that something is amiss about it, here are three things you can check at a preliminary level.
Step 1: Take a closer look
Imitations of original products are very cleverly designed. At first glance they may seem exactly like the real thing. So, take time to study the product carefully, peruse the product description, and look for the brand name, the logotype, and other design cues that seem amiss.
Step 2: Cheaper priced products might mean fake products
In India, pricing is a prime factor that drives purchase decisions. Scamsters know their psychology. So, if you stumble across a familiar branded product selling at an unbelievable discount, don’t lick your lips yet. Be alert. Compare the price against what is offered by other sellers, and cross-check on specifics like size, weight and dimensions. Often, the seller may have a license to sell at a marked-down price. In this case, the product may be genuine. If not, your suspicion might be valid.
Step 3: Seller Rating and Product Review
While many might argue the credibility of a product rating or review, this is an undeniable source of authoritative information to judge the authenticity of a product. Take time to browse through the reviews and ratings on the product listing page to rid your mind of all doubt and to get a sense of the credibility of the product. Always buy from a seller with most positive reviews. In the case of product reviews on Flipkart, always look for Certified Buyer reviews as these have been contributed by verified buyers of the product. If the listed products have positive reviews left by Certified Buyers, you can rest assured that they are not fake products.
How does Flipkart tackle fake products?
Flipkart has put in place multiple checks to detect and weed out fake products. These measures can be broadly classified into proactive and reactive discovery, and includes both automated and manual turnpikes. A dedicated team continuously assesses the credibility of products sold on Flipkart and even the smallest instance/alert of fake is escalated.
If a product is found to be a fake, the entire listing is immediately taken down along with the entire portfolio of the seller. The case is then moved into an internal investigation cell, which conducts an enquiry on the seller. If the product is found to be a fake and the seller guilty of promoting it, he/she is immediately blacklisted. A blacklisted seller will not be allowed to operate on Flipkart at any future time.
Another system that Flipkart has in place to keep a check on fake products is the Seller Rating mechanism. The process uses a crowdsourced approach to detect unethical selling on Flipkart. Customer rating, number of returns, and seller cancellations form the base to determine a seller’s credibility. If the seller rating drops beyond a preset cut-off limit, the issue is flagged and investigated. If, during the investigation, such sellers are found to be at fault, they are blacklisted from selling on Flipkart and their portfolio of products is de-listed.
Learn how Flipkart is sniffing out fake products with Mystery Shoppers
What happens to a phony seller?
All onboarded sellers on Flipkart must undergo a stringent verification process before they are enrolled and begin to sell on the e-commerce platform. This process includes systematic background checks, business registration documentation, and multiple validation checkpoints that must comply with Indian law as well as industry rules and regulations.
Flipkart has a zero-tolerance policy to every confirmed instance of fake products being sold in its marketplace. Our identification processes and measures ensure that only sellers with a positive track record are allowed to conduct business on Flipkart. The fake products detection team also continuously surveys listings to ensure that instances of fake products are addressed and mitigated on a routine basis.
What happens to sellers of fake products? Find out
This article intends to educate you on shopping safely and happily on Flipkart.
Cartoon by Balraj K N for Flipkart Stories