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samsung cait: Retailer body dials CCI, alleges Samsung involved in anti-competitive practices

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), alleging that leading manufacturers like Samsung have plunged into anti-competitive and retail-destructive policies.

The retailer body has sought the apex watchdog’s urgent intervention to direct “immediate corrections for a level playing field.”

In the letter addressed to the CCI chairman, the retailer body said Samsung has violated the competition act by “abusing its dominating position offering unequal treatment and seizing the business opportunity for its retail partners, diverting the customers on its platforms by misusing their data” .

The association alleged that Samsung has been engaging in anti-competitive practices in the sales of its latest flagship smartphones through “unmatchable exclusive offers” on its own platform, which has diverted customers away from retail stores to direct online business, impacting 1.5 lakh retail traders of mobile phones.

“These offers are spoiling the business of the MSME’s into this trade creating a big loss of business and huge unemployment , impacting the economy as a whole,” the letter said.

Samsung did not respond to ET’s queries seeking comment.

The offers include additional discounts on exchange of older models, more financing options, additional colour and storage variants, loyalty discounts, and GST invoice benefits for businesses. CAIT said Samsung is calling customers who pre-booked their device through retail stores to make them buy from online stores.

Samsung told ET Tuesday it has received twice as many pre-orders for its flagship Galaxy S23 series within first 24 hours, worth almost Rs 1400 crore, as compared to last year, on account of 1.5 times increase in marketing spends.

The retailer body said Samsung sells some smartphones exclusively on online channels, offers exclusive discounts on its online platforms, and defers payouts to retailers.

Samsung expects a double digit growth in the premium segment on the back of strong sales of its latest flagship smartphones. The company said it has started manufacturing the flagship models locally at its manufacturing unit in Noida, and will look to ensure there’s no supply shortage to meet the demand.

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