Flipkart unearths Rs1.56 cr 'returns' fraud, files plaint

India’s largest online retailer Flipkart has allegedly suffered a fraud of Rs1.56 crore between January 2016 and November 2017 due to refunding customers who claimed they received stones and mud instead of the items ordered.

According to a complaint registered by the cybercrime police against unknown persons by Murthy S N, nodal officer of Flipkart Internet Pvt Ltd, the company had sustained these losses between 1 January 2016 and 3 November 2017. The fraudsters reportedly placed orders for costly gadgets, especially smartphones and cameras, and later approached Flipkart’s customer care with complaints on delivery.
Some of them even took photographs of the alleged stones and mud and emailed them to the company as proof.
Initially, Flipkart paid these customers without much verification but as the number of cases increased, suspicions grew. On further investigation, the company found out that certain bank accounts had received multiple refunds.
“Flipkart suspects several teams are using this modus operandi to cheat the company,” a police officer said.
A Flipkart spokesperson told media, “Flipkart’s return policy is the most customer-friendly across the industry. It is hassle-free, seamless and quick, and millions of customers have benefited from it. A few, however, have tried to defraud Flipkart by claiming wrongful deliveries.”
Flipkart, which recently signed a deal with Walmart, has vowed that it will act against the perpetrators of the crime, regardless of whether its origin is sellers or customers. It said that strict action will be taken against those who were involved in the act.
The firm furnished details of suspicious customers who placed orders for costly gadgets and complained they had received stones and mud. The complainant provided bank details about refunds. Investigators will follow the money trail to unearth the truth.
“We have a zero tolerance policy on all incidents of fraud, whatever be its source of origin — sellers, customers or internal. We take such violations very seriously and initiate strict action against the concerned people or entity as per applicable laws of the land,” the spokesperson added.
The company has not shared the details of the items that were placed for the refund. It also didn’t mention the product segment that is most vulnerable. But police sources said it is usually electronic and mobile gadgets that are returned to the company as bricks and sand.