Did you shop online this festive season? Chances are you bought a fake product

New Delhi: Online retail giants may guarantee the biggest discount on latest products but there is no guarantee that the products are original. Yes, if you are addicted to shopping online then it’s time for you to get alert as the latest survey done by citizen engagement platform Local Circles revealed that one out of every five products sold by online retail giants are fake or counterfeit.

The survey by LocalCircles saw participation of over 27,000 unique consumers from over 200 districts from across India. Those who love beauty products and luxury perfumes should be extra cautious as about 35% participants said that they had received counterfeit products in fragrances and perfumes category while 8% got fake bags. Around 22% had received counterfeit sporting goods while 35% got fake cosmetic products from e-commerce sites.

The survey asked people which e-commerce site is shipping the highest percentage of fake products to the customers, 37% people answered Snapdeal, 22% answered Flipkart, 21% named Paytm Mall and 20% people chose Amazon. This signifies that Snapdeal ships the most fake and counterfeit products to the customers.

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The survey revealed that 19% participants received a fake or counterfeit product from an e-commerce site in the last 6 months. About 24% people answered they were not sure whether the product they received is genuine or fake, while 57% said that that they have not received a fake or counterfeit product from e-commerce sites in the past 6 months.

DB Post recently exposed the alarming presence of fake products on the online shopping space.

Some of the consumers on the platform have also raised a strong concerns suggesting that some e-commerce sites not only tend to ignore counterfeit sellers but promote such sellers as it allows them to offer big discounts. Genuine products of international brands cannot afford to be sold at 50-80% off, according to many consumers.

The Drug Controller General of India recently issued notices to leading e-commerce portals like Amazon and Flipkart for allegedly selling spurious and adulterated cosmetics, mainly imported brands, some of which contain harmful ingredients.

Paytm Mall, in mid-2017, said it had delisted over 85,000 sellers, in an effort to block fraudulent sellers from signing up on their platform. Earlier, Flipkart had said it removes counterfeit items from its platforms regularly and claims to have a ‘zero tolerance policy’ for counterfeit goods.

Also read: One product, five different prices: How e-commerce sites mug you

Globally, counterfeit product selling is a big business amounting to almost $500 billion annually and causing huge losses to brands. Although e-commerce companies have tried to work on the problem, a lot remains to be desired. Some of the consumers on the platform have also raised a strong concern suggesting that some eCommerce sites not only tend to ignore counterfeit sellers but promote such sellers as it allows them to offer the big discounts.

LocalCircles will be submitting a version of this report, the aggregated consumer complaints received and the solution recommendations to the Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and other Government departments based on their nature.