Man sues Snapdeal, loses Rs 1.7 lakh for mistake: What you should know when filing complaints

Sai Krishna made the costly error of filing a case against Snapdeal rather than the parent company Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd.
Man sues Snapdeal, loses Rs 1.7 lakh for mistake: What you should know when filing complaints
Man sues Snapdeal, loses Rs 1.7 lakh for mistake: What you should know when filing complaints

The consumer isn’t always king. Much to his dismay, Sai Krishna Manthena, a resident of Nalgonda, discovered this the hard way when he made the error of filing a case against e-commerce website Snapdeal as opposed to the parent company. His error cost him Rs 1.69 lakh, while all the time and energy he spent into fighting the case also went down the drain.  

On July 20, the District Consumer Forum, Nalgonda dismissed Sai Krishna Manthena’s case for naming Snapdeal as the defendant, instead of parent company Jasper Infotech Private Limited, which is the legal entity reported Deccan Chronicle.  

While dismissing the case, Mamidi Christopher, President of the District Consumer Forum, Nalgonda, stated, “The complainant cannot claim any relief on Snapdeal as it being only a web portal. No relief can be awarded in this complaint.”  

Sai Krishna’s case dates back to July 2016 when he ordered a Lakshmi gold coin from Snapdeal. But instead of the Lakshmi gold coin, he received a gold coin with Lakshmi and Ganesha on two sides.  Noticing this, the Nalgona resident filed a complaint with Snapdeal about its wrong order, which then promised to deliver the right coin.  But a few days later, the wrong coin was delivered to him once again.

Irate over it, Sai demanded a refund of Rs 1.69 lakh. Although Snapdeal promised a full refund, he never received the money despite returning the wrong gold coin.

It was then he approached the District Consumer Forum in Nalgonda, demanding Rs 2 lakh and an additional amount of Rs 30,000 for the mental agony that the case had caused him.

But to his dismay, the District Consumer Forum dismissed his petition    

So, what should people be aware of when they approach consumer forums?

In the absence of legal help, advocate M Srinivas Rao recommends that those approaching court should do basic research on the company that they intend to sue prior to filing a complaint.  

“People mostly go by the website’s name and file the complaint on the same name, but most of the time these websites are not legal enterprises. So, one has to be wary of it,” he notes. 

Advocate Sudnyata, however, says that it is the consumer forum which needs to give directions to the appellant. If there are mistakes in the complaint, they should ask the complainant to rectify them.

“All consumers can’t afford to have an advocate. I’m of the opinion that the District Consumer Forum should not have had dismissed the case for a small mistake. However, to avoid all these hassles it is better if the consumers complainant checked for the company’s name properly and not go by the website’s name before approaching the court.”

Not the first such case

The District Consumer Forum dismissed Sai Krishna’s petition citing a 2016 case between Snapdeal and Nikhil Bansal that had been disposed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). Nikhil, an 18-year-old student had ordered a heavily discounted iPhone for Rs 68 from Snapdeal, which refused to deliver the product.

The NCDRC, however, dismissed Nikhil's complaint on the grounds that “Snapdeal is only a brand name, owned by a company, namely Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd. and Snapdeal by itself is not a legal entity.”

The Commission also went on to note that Nikhil had erred in not disclosing the name of Snapdeal’s proprietor. “In our opinion if Snapdeal by itself is a legal entity, the complaint should have disclosed as to whether it was a proprietorship, partnership company, society or other legal entity. In case it is a proprietorship, the Complainant ought to have disclosed its name of its proprietor. In case it is a company it can be only a private limited or a limited company in which case its name would be Snapdeal Pvt.Ltd./Snapdeal Ltd,” stated NCDRC while dismissing the complaint.

Right to appeal

However, all may not be lost for Sai Krishna.

Advocate Sudnyanta says that Sai Krishna could approach the State Consumer Forum in Hyderabad.

Advocate, Pazhaniappan from Chennai, also points out that the complainant can appeal to the State Consumer Forum and rectify the errors. “He can just correct the errors and approach the State Consumer Forum,” Pazhaniappan said.

Incidentally, the District Consumer Forum in its judgement, also observed that if a fresh complaint is filed, Sai Krishna will be entitled to seek condonation of delay.

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