Swiggy Says Not Liable For Non-Delivery As Consumer Panel Slaps Fine

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According to the complaint, Swiggy failed to deliver the order worth INR 148 within the promotional time frame of 30 minutes in 2019

Swiggy’s counsel claimed that since it is not making food nor delivering it on its own, it can’t be held liable for any deficiency in service

The consumer panel rejected the argument, stating if Swiggy has a contract with a restaurant or delivery partner, it has the responsibility to ensure service

Food delivery major Swiggy has been fined INR 11,000 by the district consumer dispute and redressal commission, Bathinda after a local resident filed a complaint against it for deficiency of service.

According to the complaint filed by Mohit Gupta, Swiggy failed to deliver the order worth INR 148 within the promotional time frame of 30 minutes in 2019. 

The complainant’s counsel added that while the order was eventually cancelled, he only received a refund of INR 74. The counsel stated that Swiggy deducted the rest of the amount without any explanation.

However, Swiggy’s counsel stated that Swiggy is neither the seller of food or beverages nor delivers the food or beverages on its own. Therefore, it cannot be held liable for any deficiency arising out of the non-delivery of an order either by the restaurant or the delivery partner.

In essence, the food delivery major stated that it was only there to facilitate placing orders with restaurants. This claim was rejected by the commission, however.

“If Swiggy has a contract with a restaurant or pick-up and delivery partner, it is the responsibility of the opposite party (Swiggy) to get the job done and provide proper service to the customer with whom it has made a contract or received charges on behalf of the restaurant or pick-up and delivery partner,” the commission noted.

Incidentally, it is prudent to mention here that Swiggy classifies itself as a logistics company. Therefore, it has at least some control over the delivery executives and thus the delivery time it can promise and deliver on.

Swiggy also stated before the commission that the order was cancelled because Gupta was not reachable when a delivery executive was trying to locate the given delivery address. The unicorn stated that the delivery executive made multiple calls to Gupta. 

However, the commission stated that Swiggy had failed to produce the identity of the delivery executive, the call records to corroborate the statement and any statement from the delivery executive.

Food Delivery Startups Shirk Away From Responsibility

Swiggy’s claim that it is only facilitating ordering from restaurants comes after its rival Zomato claimed that it has no control over price differences between online and offline orders.

Zomato’s case surfaced after a LinkedIn user revealed that ordering on Zomato was more expensive as the price of the food items was more as compared to their actual prices offline. The user had said that it was costing as much as 35% more per order to order from Zomato.

It can be justified to some extent by stating that Zomato does not control the price at which the restaurant is listing its offerings. However, without conducting proper due diligence on the existing price list, the food delivery giant is just enabling extortionate pricing practices.

Even though Zomato and Swiggy claim that they are aggregators, there still are some service level agreements (SLAs) in place, and the two have to enforce the said SLAs.



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