Flipkart Dismisses FIFA 18 PC Piracy Report as “Irrelevant Question”

Flipkart, the India-based online retail giant set to be largely acquired by Walmart after outbidding Amazon, has some its virtual shelves stocked with pirated games. However, when a customer pointed out that offering games with cracks might be a "serious oversight", a Flipkart representative dismissed his complaint as an "irrelevant question".

The name Flipkart probably doesn’t ring too many bells in the United States but if all goes to plan, one of the country’s major retailers will soon be a 77% owner.

Flipkart is India’s largest online retailer and according to a report published in 2017, it controls almost 40% of the entire market.

That prompted Walmart and Amazon to file bids for Flipkart, with the former coming out on top with a $16 billion offer for what CNN describes as “the most valuable startup in India.”

Like all successful online retailers, Flipkart offers a wide range of genuine and authentic products to its consumers. However, like rivals Amazon, it does have an issue with some sellers attempting to sell pirated and counterfeit products via its virtual shelves.

As can be seen in the image below, Flipkart offers PC games for sale, many at heavily discounted prices. However, those listed for “offline use only” raise alarm bells.

One particular listing for a PC game caught the eye of Vidit Sahni, a resident of New Delhi in India. While browsing Flipkart he came across an advert for EA’s FIFA 18, which was offered for the princely sum of 799 rupees – around US$11.66.

The listing highlights that the game has 50% off its retail price and potential buyers should hurry since there’s only a few left. However, a closer look shows that the seller probably has access to an unlimited supply.

“NOTE: THERE IS A CRACK ONLY NO DIGITAL CODE,” the tell-tale text on the bottom right corner of the listing warns.

“Before installation the game first off your internet and antivirus. 1. All CD file copy in your pc 2. Setup File Click 3. Install the game 4. Install finish and open the game and enjoy your game,” it adds in broken English.

The fact that Flipkart is openly selling pirated software prompted Vidit Sahni to contact the company using the ‘Post Your Question’ option listed next to the ‘Have doubts regarding this product?’ notice.

“Why is Flipkart selling pirated products,” Sahni asked the retailer. “The product description itself shows that the game is installed using a crack. Isn’t it a serious oversight? And this is not the only game.”

Flipkart customer support did eventually respond to Sahni’s concerns but the answer was not what he expected.

“We noticed that your question on JBD FIFA 18 EA SPORTS {Offline} PC Game does not fully conform to our internal guidelines. We request you to submit your question again as per our guidelines. We will review it and then make it live on Flipkart,” the company responded.

While it’s certainly possible that the company wanted the complaint filed in a different way, there’s no taking away from the clear message on the item. However, it was the reason given for the rejection that seems to have upset Sahni most.

“Reason for not-approving the question: Irrelevant question,” Flipkart advised.

“@flipkartsupport sucks!” Sahni wrote in response on Twitter.

“They shunned down my question on piracy of the product to them as ‘irrelevant’ Find the screenshot! Don’t buy from Flipkart! They promote Piracy!”

Flipkart does have a section of its site that’s dedicated to the protection of intellectual property rights. However, it’s targeted at entities whose rights have been infringed, meaning that companies like EA would need to file a complaint rather than members of the public like Sahni.

TorrentFreak contacted Flipkart who responded with an automated message saying that our query had been noted and would be answered within 24 hours.

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