Submit Proposal To Improve Grievance Redressal In 15 Days: Govt

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Zomato and Swiggy were directed to give customers the choice to decide if they want to share their contact details with the restaurants

Officials also called on the food delivery platforms to ‘transparently’ show the breakup of all charges included in the order amount

The platforms were also directed by the authorities to ensure that individual customer reviews are visible on the platform

The Department of Consumer Affairs has directed Zomato and Swiggy to submit a proposal on improving grievance redressal mechanisms in the next 15 days.

The directions were given during a meeting with ecommerce food business operators (FBOs) to discuss consumer grievances received by authorities. The meeting was chaired by department secretary Rohit Kumar Singh. Additional secretary Nidhi Khare, joint secretary Anupam Mishra, major FBOs including Zomato and Swiggy, and the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) attended the meeting.

During the meeting, the NRAI also raised the issue of the ecommerce FBOs not sharing customer information with the restaurants. The Department directed Zomato and Swiggy to give customers the choice to decide if they want to share their contact details with the restaurants.

Officials also called on the startups to ‘transparently’ show the breakup of all charges included in the order amount. The platforms were also directed to ensure that individual customer reviews are visible on the platform, as against aggregated reviews. 

The NRAI also drew attention to the heavy commission – nearly 20% – charged by foodtech startups on each order, a statement from the government said

The meeting also saw deliberations on matters such as inconsistencies in delivery timing shown to customers as well as disparity between quantity of food items shown on the platform and those offered by restaurants. Officials also raised the issue of the absence of a mechanism to separate genuine reviews from fake ones.

As per the data shared by the government, 3,631 grievances were received against Swiggy on the National Consumer Helpline in the last 12 months, while Zomato received 2,828 complaints. 

For Swiggy, a majority of the complaints (22%) related to deficiency in services, followed closely by delay or non-delivery of product (17%). On the other hand, the majority of the grievances logged with Zomato related to deficiency in services (25%), followed by complaints regarding delivery of defective or damaged products (18%).

The development comes at a time when the government seems to be tightening the regulations around online food delivery. Earlier this year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered a probe into the ‘conduct’ of Zomato and Swiggy. The action came after the NRAI approached the competition watchdog in July last year, seeking a probe into the two players. 

Zomato And Swiggy Vs NRAI

The two sides have been at loggerheads for a slew of reasons. In its last submission before the CCI, the NRAI alleged that both foodtech giants were indulging in deep discounting tactics and violating platform neutrality

The two sides have also sparred over the issue of delayed payment cycles for partner restaurants. NRAI also slammed Zomato and Swiggy earlier for ‘exorbitant’ commissions charged by these platforms. 

The two players together reportedly control 90-95% of the Indian food delivery market. According to Statista, the Indian online food delivery market was pegged at around $2.9 Bn in 2020, and is expected to rise to $13 Bn by 2025.



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