Beleaguered e-commerce firm Snapdeal has denied its vendors' claims of non-payment and said it doesn't owe them any outstanding dues.
Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd, which runs Snapdeal, issued a press statement on Thursday saying it pays its sellers 6-10 times a month, and sellers typically receive payment within 3-5 days of the sale of goods. The sellers, however, refuted the claim that payments are made within 3-5 days and alleged that the company shut down sellers' helpline in March.
Snapdeal's run-ins with sellers surfaced earlier this year, with numerous vendors accusing the company of payment delays as well as non-payment. Last week, VCCircle exclusively reported that the seller disputes could be the result of data discrepancies in the firm’s seller management function, including data loss and technical bugs.
Earlier this week, All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA), a group of 2,000 online sellers, sought the central government’s intervention to prevent Snapdeal’s imminent merger with its bigger rival Flipkart until the former settles sellers' dues.
In response, Snapdeal said it handled all seller disputes through a grievance redressal mechanism consistent with seller policies and contractual agreements. It claimed the delays were because of "inadequate justification on the part of sellers."
"In these cases, sellers have so far failed to provide required justification for their claims despite multiple attempts by Snapdeal to facilitate these settlements. These are minor amounts, which will get paid basis information provided by sellers and in accordance with the contracts and seller policies,” Sanjay Agarwal, senior vice president of finance at Snapdeal, said in the statement.
"We have reinforced internal audit and control processes to detect fraudulent practices by sellers and imposed suitable penalties towards such exceptions. Legal action has been taken against nearly 35 sellers, including initiation of criminal proceedings where required,” added Agarwal.
However, AIOVA refuted the e-commerce firm's claims. “We raised an alarm with Kunal Bahl and other senior leaders of Snapdeal several times. However, they never acknowledged our concerns,” an AIOVA spokesperson said.
The seller group had conducted a survey in March, requesting members to highlight cases that required escalation, and submitted the data to Snapdeal. However, it claims that the company did not respond to the findings and all issues remain pending.
Earlier this month, VCCircle first reported that Bangalore-based apparel seller Rajdhani Cotton had filed a police complaint against Snapdeal for allegedly withholding payments after a months-long dispute over transaction data.
Snapdeal’s impending merger with Flipkart is likely to be announced soon. Once sealed, the deal would see founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal leave the organizsation.