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Amazon’s Gopal Pillai, Retail News, ET Retail

Alleged competition law violations by CCI 100% not true: Amazon’s Gopal Pillai New Delhi: Amazon India has denied allegations of discounting prices amidst the news of a probe by the industry watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Gopal Pillai, VP, Seller Services, Amazon India, addressing the media at the Amazon Smbhav event in the capital said sellers are independent of choosing their prices and the e-commerce firm takes no part in it. “First and foremost, prices are set by sellers. We don’t have any part to play there – they are independently setting their prices,” he said.

It had been alleged that e-commerce firms Flipkart and Amazon have been giving preferential treatment to some mobile phone sellers and conducting deep discounting practices.

Giving the example of the US as a developed market, Pillai said that it is clear that SMBs are ruling the marketplace. “If you step back, even in a country like US where we are the retailer, marketplace came later. And when you are a retailer, you have the full power of private labels, working capital, leverage with the brands. When the marketplace came, it was only 3% of the total sales. 15 years later, it is 58%. So retail is only 42%. So SMBs are ruling the marketplace. The reason for that is very simple — it is a neutraliser, it brings a level playing field,” he said.

On Monday, the CCI, in an order, said it “is of the opinion that there exists a prima facie case which requires an investigation”. CCI director-general has been directed to submit a report in 60 days.

The allegations include unfair discounting practices, exclusive brand launches on the platforms and the preferential treatment to certain mobile phones sellers. Citing the allegations as 100% not true, Pillai stated that they don’t interfere with seller prices.

The order and allegations came after the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, a group representing brick and mortar small businesses, filed a complaint. It had alleged that there are some “preferred sellers” who are connected to Amazon and Flipkart through common shareholders.

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