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Flipkart plans to start selling refurbished smartphones by Diwali, following the footsteps of US rival Amazon in India, prompted by the high rate of handset returns and the absence of a pricing advantage with the introduction of the goods and services tax, two senior industry executives said.
The company plans to sell popular brands such as Lenovo, Motorola, Samsung’s ‘On Series, Panasonic, Micromax and Sony Xperia. Amazon began offline distribution of smartphones earlier this year and also started selling certified refurnished handsets. It currently sells Coolpad smartphones and plans to expand it to other models of brands such as Samsung and Motorola.
Those connected with the industry said Amazon and Flipkart are entering offline sales to offer a wider distribution platform to handset vendors, including several new Chinese companies. In addition, GST on smartphones has been set at a uniform 12%, replacing varying rates of value added tax levied by states.
Online retailers can no longer buy devices in low-VAT states and sell them in the rest of the country, passing on the gains to customers through discounts.