CERC survey reveals Snapdeal sells products at unbelievable discounts. Are they Counterfeit?


Press Release

CERC survey reveals Snapdeal sells products at unbelievable discounts. Are they Counterfeit?

CERC makes a representation to DCGI asking for urgent intervention

Ahmedabad, 28 January 2019

Consumer Education and Research Centre(CERC), Ahmedabad conducted an online survey of personal care products and cosmetics sold on e-portals Snapdeal and Nykaa. While Snapdeal is an e-commerce platform with over 3,00,000 sellers, Nykaa is a popular online store that claims to sell only authentic items. The findings of our survey, which compared 25 products, were startling and raise several questions about the genuineness of products sold on Snapdeal.

CERC has written to Dr. S. Eswara Reddy, Drug Controller General of India, asking him to intervene urgently. CERC has also sent the findings to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India to take steps in consumer interest.

Survey highlights:

  • 50% to 92% difference found in the prices of the same products on Nykaa and Snapdeal
  • Highly inflated MRP and unbelievable discounts on Snapdeal
  • Expiry date not shown for cosmetic products.
  • Negative customer reviews on branded cosmetics products on Snapdeal

Survey details:

  • Unbelievable discounts: The same product sold on the two portals is 50-92% cheaper on Snapdeal. Unbelievable discounts are offered by Snapdeal. For instance, the price of one unit of Indulekha Bhringa Oil on Nykaa is Rs. 432 whereas on Snapdeal it is Rs. 279 for 2 units (after 68% discount), which is 67.71% less than the price on Nykaa. How can any seller afford to consistently sell genuine products at such highly discounted prices?
  • Product prices higher than MRP: Products are sold on Snapdeal at MRPs higher than those on the brand’s official website. In the case of The Body Shop Moringa Shower Gel, the selling price on Snapdeal was Rs. 469 after a discount of 57% on an MRP of Rs.1,095. However, the same product was sold at a much lower rate of Rs. 325 (MRP) on the official The Body Shop website as well as on Nykaa.This is a clear case of cheating and misleading consumers by showing higher MRP with high discount.
  • No expiry dates: Expiry date is not shown for many products on Snapdeal. These include Lakme 9 to 5 Primer+matte Lipstick, TheBody Shop Moringa Shower Gel, L’Oreal Paris Magique Kajal. Expiry date is an important piece of label information. Use of expired cosmetics or personal care products can cause serious skin and health issues. On Nykaa, expiry dates are mentioned on all the products surveyed. As per the Legal Metrology GSR 629 (E) of 23 June 2017, the packaging should contain “use by date” after which the product may not have the quality attributes normally expected by consumers and should not be regarded as marketable.
  • Negative customer reviews ignored: Many users have posted negative reviews questioning the quality and genuineness of personal care products purchased from Snapdeal. This indicates that consumers have received substandard or fake products from Snapdeal.
  • Contradictory description: Mismatch exists in the product visual and description which indicates a clear lapse from the e-portal’s side. For example, the product shown is Lakme Eyeconic Kajal but the description is that of Maybelline

Details of the survey are attached as (Annexure 1-4)

More evidence

A survey conducted by LocalCircles has found that one out of five products sold online are fake or counterfeit,with cosmetics and fragrances the most affected category. The survey also revealed that Snapdeal is the e-commerce site shipping the highest percentage (37%) of counterfeit/fake products. 

Counterfeiting is a matter of great concern. Fake personal care products and cosmetics can cause serious health hazards as they may contain toxic ingredients. Moreover, selling of fakes amounts to cheating consumers and causing them a financial loss.

Appeal to DCGI

  1. To urgently intervene and ensure that Snapdeal withdraws all products with incomplete labelling and inflated prices – much higher than MRP–from their website.
  2. Snapdeal should be made to recall the products sold to consumers and compensate them for purchase of potentially harmful products.
  3. Snapdeal should be made to have a transparent policy for selection of vendors and products, and take strict action against vendors violating the policy.

Last October, e-commerce giants – Amazon and Flipkart – were issued notices by DCGI for allegedly selling “spurious and adulterated” cosmetics including imported brands, and were warned of penal action. Action against Snapdeal, along with the steps taken against Amazon and Flipkart, will send a strong message to e-commerce portals that they have to curb the sale of fake products on their websites.

For further information please contact

Ms Pritee Shah (O) 079-27489945/46   (M) +91 99048 63838 

Enclosures: Annexure (1-4)

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