Food & Groceries - No replacement offered
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Retailers may have a ‘no replacement’ policy for some items (especially for perishable goods).
If there’s something wrong with an item for which a retailer has a ‘no replacement’ policy, you should generally expect a refund instead.You should know
Doorstep food delivery is the hottest thing in India! Huge discounts, cash back options, free and instant delivery of a wide range of food items including all types of cuisine are some of the tactics used by food and grocery delivery apps & websites. To ensure food safety in such a bustling market, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken several steps in favour of the consumers.
Before ordering food online, you must ensure that the delivery restaurant holds a valid FSSAI license. The license number is usually given on the restaurant’s page on the food delivery app. In case there is no license number, inform the food delivery app of the same and do not order from such a restaurant. A license guarantees that the restaurant from which you are ordering food has adhered to FSSAI’s safety and cleanliness standards.
Initially, if you have a complaint against an online food seller, you should follow the given steps:
- Raise a complaint on their online platform- website or mobile application. Almost every food and groceries delivery company has a proper customer service mechanism in place to provide for quick redressal.
- Through an online chat or a quick call, your complaint will be transferred to the food vendor. After receiving your complaint, the vendor would scrutinize the issue and might inquire about the problem in detail.
- Upon satisfaction, a refund or replacement of the food item will be offered to you. In some cases, the online food delivery app might also offer discount coupons or other rebates as a gesture of goodwill.
- However, if the business is unable to provide a satisfactory solution or if you feel that your claim has been ignored by the business, then you make escalate your matter to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Types of complaints which can be made to FSSAI:
- Sale of packaged food items beyond their expiry/best before date
- Presence of dust particles, insects or fungus
- Issues related to adulteration
- Improper packing
- Incomplete information about a food item or insufficient information on the label
- Misleading advertisement
- Absence of detailed address of manufacturer/ marketer
- Absence of declaration of ingredients such as MSG (monosodium glutamate) if it is present in the food item
- Absence of warnings – such as ‘Not for phenylketonuria patients’ on the label of food that has artificial sweetener
You can register a complaint against food safety issues about adulterated food, substandard food, unsafe food, labeling defects in food and misleading advertisements related to various food products with FSSAI. The three-tier process recommended by FSSAI is as follows:
Step I: raise the complaint with the nodal officers appointed by FSSAI Food and Beverage Officers.
Step II: If the grievance is not redressed to satisfaction by the nodal officer, contact the State Food Safety Authorities.
Step III: If the resolution is not satisfactory in step II, directly contact FSSAI
You must know that any compensation from FSSAI is only available when the food items have caused injury, grievous injury or death of the consumer.
Apart from following the due course of law in case of a food & groceries complaint, FSSAI also offers a wide range of options for a consumer to submit a complaint. These initiatives have been taken in order to ensure consumer safety and transparency in the food delivery system.
- Citizen Connect is an initiative of FSSAI to develop credible and robust information and feedback mechanism across various channels to create a responsive ecosystem to bring each citizen on-board to share their concerns regarding food safety violations. This “CITIZEN CONNECT” initiative allows a consumer to share their concerns, know their rights and track Food Business Operators license/registration certificate authenticity. The main objective of this initiative is to ensure satisfactorily & timely redressal of concern and to create a robust ecosystem of ensuring food safety in the country.
- Food Safety Connect is a consumer-centric app & an online portal by FSSAI that offers a centralized platform to the Indian consumers to raise concerns related to food safety and hygiene. Towards securing National Food Safety, FSSAI wishes to bring each citizen onboard to share their concerns regarding food safety violations. This portal allows a consumer to share their concern relating to food safety & hygiene in a pre-packaged product and when you eat out at a restaurant, food van, dhaba, etc., know their rights, track Food Business Operators license/registration certificate authenticity and view related articles/videos on food safety.
- FSSAI has also taken initiative to develop a Food Safety Network of India (FSNI) wherein all food regulatory authorities shall be operating in a Closed User Group(CUG) across the country. This network will bring more coherence in the efforts of maintaining food safety standards in the country but shall also reduce the response time to the exigencies emerging out of food safety issues. It will empower the citizens in a big way to have direct access to the regulatory staff. This will bring more transparency and shall provide an effective mechanism for grievance redressal. These CUG numbers will be integrated with Food License & Registration System (FLRS), thereby all the alerts generated by FLRS shall be messaged on these CUG numbers. There will be dedicated Email ID along with the CUG number attached to the post/area of the regulatory staff as mapped in the FLRS system.
The food was bad, do I still have to pay for it?
Tastes and food preferences differ from person to person. As far as the food is of good quality, there’s nothing much you can do about it. If your food is stale or has a similar issue, firstly, you should immediately stop consuming it and inform the customer care department of the food delivery app. You may also call the restaurant and inform them about the same. The restaurant would deliver a fresh order as a replacement for the bad one.
Do I have to pay delivery & packing charges?
Some restaurants might be located far off from your delivery location. In such cases, you’ll be charged a small delivery fee. Food delivery apps also run promotions offering free delivery and packaging of your order. You could try filtering your restaurant search by the ‘free delivery’ option.
Issue not addressed
If the restaurant does not respond to your issue, then you should raise your case to the next level. The resolver system knows the next steps to take to escalate your issue and will remind you what to do and when so that your voice is heard and hopefully your issue is addressed.
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