E-commerce majors Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal have stopped their CoD (cash-on-delivery) mode of payment following the Indian government’s move to demonitise the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 tenders at 12 am on November 8. Even while these notes will be accepted by hospitals, petrol pumps railway stations, metro stations and chemists (up to November 11); this courtesy is not extended to anyone else.
While trying to make a CoD purchase on Amazon, you will be greeted with a message saying “We have disabled COD for you to save cash for essential payments”. The message advises people to use their debit/ credit cards or net banking to make purchases.
Snapdeal will still let you choose CoD as a method of payment but carries a clear disclaimer on their website, “Current currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 have been discontinued. Please keep the right denominations handy for payment at delivery.” It’s not clear what happens to those who’ve placed a COD order for an expensive item, since most people are unlikely to have a wad of Rs 100 notes lying around.
Flipkart oddly did not carry any such disclaimer while we tried to purchase items below Rs 1,000 using CoD. As you move up the Rs 1,000 margin, Flipkart gives you a banner saying, “This payment option is not available for this order. Please try some other payment mode”.
Flipkart also issued a statement saying, “We welcome this bold and historic initiative by the Government of India. This will enable India to move faster towards digital payments and will be a game changer for Flipkart and for the ecommerce industry.”
The company spokesperson added, “We are no longer accepting Cash-on-Delivery (CoD) payments in ₹500 and ₹1000 currency notes. In order to enable customers to conserve smaller denomination notes for daily essential use, we are restricting CoD on orders below Rs. 1000. Meanwhile, we urge our customers to opt for alternative payment modes such as card on delivery, internet banking, credit and debit cards, gift cards, and our easy and convenient PhonePe wallet. We are also working on a slew of measures to help customers easily transition from cash to digital payments.”
Considering that banks are closed today, and with ATMs running dry; the public is already low on the smaller Rs 100 and lower denominations to buy regular day-to-day necessities. A few of our colleagues who have their products coming in for delivery today (and who had chosen CoD) are certain that they will be declining the delivery.
It is expected that a lot of people across the country will be rejecting CoD deliveries; the brunt of which will be taken by these e-commerce websites and their vendors. Considering that India still remains a large CoD market for these websites, we’ll have to see how they take the hit.
Experts are of the view that e-commerce, real estate and consumer non-durable sectors are likely to be hit by government’s move to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, even as they projected the economy to benefit from it in the long run.
In a press statement Uber said, “We welcome the government’s decision to discontinue Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes, and introduce new notes in the market. During this transition period, we request our riders to link their Uber account to digital payment methods or carry smaller denomination currency for a seamless experience.”