Hyderabad: Naming Snapdeal.com as the defendant in a complaint filed in the consumer forum cost a resident of Nalgonda Rs 1.69 lakh. The consumer may lose the case on technical grounds if he fails to establish the web portal as a legal entity.
Sai Krishna Manthena, a resident of Nalgonda, purchased a gold coin worth Rs 2 lakh from a vendor named Cartolane via Snapdeal in August 2016. He ordered a coin with an image of Goddess Laxmi engraved on it. However, he received one which had both Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi on it. He returned the product and asked for a replacement. The second time he received a coin with Lord Ganesha engraved on it. He then decided to return the product and demand a refund.
Snapdeal accepted the returned product and initiated the refund process. However, Mr Manthena never received the reimbursement. He then approached the Nalgonda district consumer forum.
The district consumer forum dismissed his case on the grounds of the complainant having named Snapdeal.com as the defendant. As per law, Snapdeal is the brand name used by Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd.
Padma Priya, an advocate who has argued a similar case filed at the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), says, “Snapdeal is just a brand name and not the name of a company. A brand can’t be sued for delivering a product. The complaint must address the brand by the name of the company that promotes it.”
In the case filed at the NCDRC, an 18-year-old from Punjab lost a case against Snapdeal after he failed to use the name of the legal entity in his complaint. Lower courts awarded him Rs 10,000 after Snapdeal cancelled his order for an iPhone which he had purchased at a discounted rate of Rs 68. However, the NCDRC ruled in favour of Snapdeal.
The court observed, “In our opinion, if Snapdeal by itself is a legal entity, then the complaint shou-ld have disclosed as to whether it is a proprietorship, a partnership company, a society or another legal entity. In case it is a proprietorship, the complainant ought to have disclosed the name of its proprietor. In case it is a company, it can either be a private limited company or a limited company, in which case its name would have been Snapdeal Pvt. Ltd. or Snapdeal Ltd.”
People are increasingly choosing to represent themselves in court, and minor technical errors are costing them time and money, especially in cases involving e-retailers. However, complainants are allowed to rectify their errors and app-roach the court again.