Pricey Delivery Service Adding to Citizens’ Dilemma of Ordering Food Online
The 15 new cases of coronavirus positive patients identified in the city have left panic-stricken Guwahatians with other no option but to stay home and avoid gathering in crowded marketplaces.
Refraining from stirring outside means difficulty in arranging for provisions and this is where the blessing called ‘delivery apps’ come into picture.
Although these apps are very helpful, provide personalized shopping experiences, save time and allow multiple payment options, people have reported that there are online stores taking advantage of the frightened consumers who fall into this trap of over exploitation to ensure that their family does not have to face a shortage of essential items at home.
With the nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus being extended over and over again, food delivery apps like Swiggy have started providing door-to-door delivery of essential commodities.
The delivery app has partnered with various retail stores in 125 new cities, in addition to others across the nation. Amid fears of the delivery app rising as a major monopolist in the city, consumers have complained about the unbelievably inflated prices of products being sold through the delivery app, right from necessities like milk and vegetables, to meat, fish and eggs, consumption of which is no less than a luxury anymore considering the rate at which their prices have multiplied.
A resident of RG Baruah Road complained that some stores have been charging around Rs 220 for a tray of eggs, which costs around Rs 160 in the market. On adding this to the cart, the consumer complained that Swiggy charged a delivery fee of Rs 90 along with taxes of Rs 26.20 bringing the total bill up to Rs 336. The total price, more than doubled, making a regular tray of eggs expensive for the common man.
Another resident of Beltola area complained that when she opened the delivery app, she saw stores charging Rs 220 to Rs 270 for a kilogram of broiler chicken; the same, to her surprise, was being sold for merely Rs 150 in the market. If delivery charges of Rs 90 were added to the bill along with taxes, this too would multiply the total bill amount by two or in some cases would even exceed that.
Consumers from across the city have questioned whether this massive rise in prices of home delivery services at a time like this when people fear going out in public as also the fact that they are advised not to by the government, is actually right. People have started questioning whether authorities are keeping a check on this hike at a time when the cost of everything has shot up.
Not only consumers, even vendors of the city have parted ways with Swiggy and other delivery jumbos so as to avoid a myriad of problems.
“We have not collaborated with Swiggy because the delivery fee to the person delivering is lower than ours; we pay around Rs 40 per delivery to the delivery boy as against Swiggy that pays only around Rs 30. About 10 deliveries a day fetches him Rs 400 which adds up to about Rs 12,000 a month which is enough for sustenance in Guwahati. So that’s a plus point on our part too,” opined Siddharth Barth, founder of Social Enterprise Experts Group, an organisation that is into the business of home delivery in Guwahati.
On being asked whether delivery charges are higher on tieing up with the food delivery giant he replied, “to the customer, the charges are high I suppose, I’m not so sure.”
A lot of retail stores, businesses and local e-commerce sites have started independently operating with permission from respective authorities. “We deliver each and every essential commodity, including medicines and other essentials of everyday need,” said Barth.
G Plus got in touch with officials from Swiggy in Guwahati, but they said that they did not have the authority to speak on the issue. On contacting the Bangalore office, the PR team of Swiggy too refused to comment on the matter. In addition to that, G Plus also sent an e-mail on their official mailing address to which they have failed to revert even as we report this.