Amazon sold some items at inflated rate during Covid-19: Report
Amazon sold several items including essentials such as toilet paper and hand sanitiser at inflated rate during the Covid-19 pandemic, said a report by US-based consumer rights group Public Citizen.
 
Amazon set prices of products during the pandemic to levels that would be considered violations of price gouging laws in many states of the country, showed the findings of the report released this week.
 
Numerous examples of price increases were found on essential products sold directly by Amazon, it added.
 
While the e-commerce giant publicly blamed so-called third-party sellers for price increases, it continued to allow them to increase their prices, the research showed.
 
"Amazon claimed that it took several steps to curb price gouging," said the report.
 
"But we have uncovered a pattern of significant price increases on essential products sold directly by Amazon, as well as price gouging by third-party sellers," it added.
 
This report details 15 essential products that have been sold by Amazon during that Covid-19 pandemic with markups over the recent price on Amazon.com or other national retailers ranging from 76 per cent to more than 1,000 per cent.
 
It also details 10 products sold on Amazon by third-party sellers during the same period with markups ranging from 225 per cent to 941 per cent.
 
It showed that prices of many items increased manifold between May and August.
 
Responding to the report, Amazon said that its service has "no place for price gouging," The Verge reported on Friday.
 
"Our systems are designed to offers customers the best available online price and if we see an error, we work quickly to fix it," a spokesperson of the company was quoted as saying.
 
The e-commerce giant's leadership had earlier also made clear that they do not tolerate price gouging and that they will stop third-party sellers from taking advantage of the pandemic.
 
"However, it is clear that not only are third-party sellers engaged in price gouging, but Amazon itself is selling essential products at significant price increases, and in many cases at a much higher price than other national retailers," the report by Public Citizen concluded.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    s5rwav

    2 months ago

    Why Mr #MukeshAmbani and #RelianceIndustries Love the #Amazon that Indulge into Unethical Practice of Exploiting Pandemic Situation to Brazenly Loot of Helpless Citizens. I am Babubhai Vaghela from Ahmedabad. Thanks.

    https://www.moneylife.in/article/amazon-sold-some-items-at-inflated-rate-during-covid-19-report/61499.html

    No Catch in Proposal for Full Airline Ticket Refund during COVID Lock-down: Govt
    The Centre on Wednesday assured the Supreme Court that there is 'no catch' in its proposal in connection with the refund of air tickets booked for travel during the COVID-19 lock-down.
     
    Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said there is no catch in the refund proposal and if tickets were booked on 15th March, before the lock-down period, then also there will be a full refund.
     
    As senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for a petitioner, raised doubts whether the air ticket refund proposal of the civil aviation ministry is confined to tickets booked during the lock-down or before the lock-down, Mehta reiterated the proposal covers all.
     
    A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah, referring to the recent affidavit filed by the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) saying tickets for travel during lock-down will be refunded, said the Centre should clarify on this crucial aspect of refund.
     
    Mehta replied that he would file an additional affidavit clarifying the position in the matter. He also clarified that if a ticket was booked for travel from overseas to another foreign country, then the matter is not in the domain of the refund proposal.
     
    Submitting that the proposal for ticket refund would have to be approved by the apex court, Mehta insisted that the government decided to refund the amount for the tickets and also tried to ensure that airlines don't suffer.
     
    Advocate Jose Abraham, representing petitioner Pravasi Legal Cell, said the affidavit filed by the Centre is fine, except to the fact that it is not clear as to whether the passengers who booked tickets prior to the lock-down are entitled to a full refund.
     
    Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing SpiceJet, contended that his client agrees with the stand of the government. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Indigo, said though his client agrees with Centre's proposal, yet there are few issues for which two-three days be given. The bench asked counsel to file its response to the affidavit.
     
    Advocate Neela Gokhale, appearing for a travel agents association, said their funds are stuck as no refunds were given by the airlines, but Mehta said that they have consulted ticket agents before finalising the proposal.
     
    The bench then asked Mr Mehta to file an additional affidavit, and slated the matter for further hearing on 23rd September.
     
    Senior advocate CA Sundaram, representing a passengers association, told the bench that there should be full refund of the ticket.
     
    The Centre has proposed that a full refund should be given by the airlines within 15 days for tickets booked during the lock-down, and if any airline is in financial distress, then a credit shell should be provided up to March 31, 2021 on any route of the passengers' choice. The full refund has been proposed for tickets booked during the lock-down on domestic, international and foreign airlines.
     
    In an affidavit in the court, OK Gupta, director, DGCA, said for the domestic airlines, if the tickets were booked directly with the airline or through an agent during the first lock-down period (March 25-April 14) for the journeys to be undertaken in both first and second lock-down period (March 25-May 3), then in all such cases, full refund shall be given by the airlines immediately.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    s5rwav

    2 months ago

    Govt of India Must Confirm the Data on Airlinewise Number of Claims Received and Claims Settled. This Must be Done by DGCA. As Monthly Statements. I am Babubhai Vaghela from Ahmedabad. Thanks.

    Govt Drops Plan To Provide Choice of Electricity Suppliers to Consumers
    Consumers waiting for the big bang distribution sector reforms that would have allowed them to choose electricity suppliers offering the lowest tariff are in for a big disappointment.
     
    The government has dropped the plan to break the monopoly of discoms by bringing in competition and has rather decided to focus on introducing a direct benefit transfer scheme (DBT) as the next wave of reforms in the power sector.
     
    Minister of state for power RK Singh told IANS that the plan for separation of carriage and content operations in the distribution segment that would have allowed multiple discoms in one area has been dropped for now and may be covered as part of the next leg of reforms sometime in the future.
     
    "The plan for ushering in competition in the distribution segment has not been covered now. It may happen sometime down the road not now, maybe in the next leg of reforms," Mr Singh said indicating that the states are still not ready for it and have cited infrastructure shortcomings for not supporting this reform agenda.
     
    The Electricity Act, 2003, laid the foundation for introducing competition at the consumer end of electricity supply through open access and provision for parallel distribution licensees. However both these concepts saw limited success in the Indian electricity sector. The process was fine-tuned in the Electricity Amendment Bill by proposing separation of carriage and content operations in power distribution and allowing multiple players in a distribution area.
     
    The latest Electricity Amendment Bill, which is being vetted by the law ministry, has dropped the provision that would have allowed a choice of power discoms to consumers with usage of even less than 1 MW.
     
    "This (non inclusion of distribution sector reform) would be injustice to consumers who were expecting competitive electricity tariff to set in as soon as possible. The mechanism would have worked to the advantage of consumers now with prevailing lower fuel prices and the country having surplus power capacity. This could have helped consumers to get electricity at much lower rates than what is being offered for supplies made by inefficient state electricity boards," said an energy sector analyst who did not wish to be named.
     
    At present only large customers using more than 1 MW have the permission to choose a supplier under open access regulations. The new legislation would have offered this choice even to retail customers thereby removing the restriction of one discom per circle and allowing multiple suppliers to compete to offer the cheapest and best services to electricity consumers.
     
    Apart from reluctance to shed discom monopoly, states are not ready for this reform that would require a massive infrastructure and regulatory revamp. Moreover, with more than one supplier in circle and active private sector participation, states fear that sudden changes could lead to the bulk of state discoms prized commercial consumers moving to more efficient private ones. This could result in further stress for loss making discoms.
     
    Sources said that inclusion of DBT itself has been a challenge and required a lot of convincing to bring states on board. "May be five years would be given to states to bring down cross subsidy surcharge and perfect DBT structure before unleashing competition in the distribution sector," said the source.
     
    However, to ensure that discoms take to loss reduction trajectory, the power ministry has proposed a funding mechanism where disbursals would be made against specific loss reduction targets by state-owned funding agencies PFC (Power Finance Corporation)  and REC (Rural Electrification Corporation).
     
    The amendments in the Act proposed earlier suggested segregating the carriage (distribution network) from the content (electricity supply business) in the power sector. The government would introduce multiple supply licensees in the content business based on market principles and continue carriage as a regulated business.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    parimalshah1

    2 months ago

    the babus want to have their slice of cake.
    A prepaid meter system will get rid of those who steal electric power at the cost of discoms (and hence make other consumers pay for that loss) is in the norm today. The discoms pass that theft as Distribution and transmission loss!

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